Posted at: 11/27/2012 8:41 AM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 5:50 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren
More than a dozen animals are killed after a fire destroys the home of a dog breeder in Canandaigua. The Ontario County Fire Coordinator says it was a tragic accident involving a heater.
The fire broke out Monday night around 11:00pm at a home on Goff Road in Canandaigua, just a few miles away from Bristol Mountain. The two people who lived in the home were able to get out safely, but their home is a complete loss.
Lori Hicks lost seven of her Alaskan Malamute adult dogs and lost 12 puppies that were still nursing. Innocent victims of a fire that consumed an entire house.
Fire officials won't label it a fatal fire. There will be no funeral but ask Lori Hicks, she'll tell you there were 27 deaths Monday night.
Hicks said, “We lost seven dogs and 12 puppies.”
Lori also lost eight cats. But as a breeder of Alaskan Malamutes, her dogs were her children.
Hicks said, “Every puppy, I whelped, sat in that chair and now look at it.”
Lori heard the smoke alarms going off around 11:00pm and noticed flames coming from the kennel room, that's where the puppies were.
She was able to save four dogs on her own. The fire burning her eyes, her face and her hair.
Hicks said, “Yup, and if I could have gotten to the ones inside faster, but I can't look back.”
Ontario County Fire Coordinator Jeff Harloff finished his investigation Tuesday afternoon.
Harloff said, “I believe that the fire originates near some electrical components that are related to a heater for one of the two mothers.”
Two mother dogs were sleeping with their puppies right inside the window. None of them survived.
Harloff said, “When you work in a condition that involves deceased animals, it plays on quite a bit of your heartstrings for the firefighters.”
And when you hear the sound of the dogs crying, you can't help but think the dogs that made it can feel it too.
Hicks said, “My dogs mean more to me than most people do.”
Lori was also a collector of antiques. She lost all of those as well as about $30,000 worth of yarn and she lost all of her dog food and dog biscuits in the fire. Despite it all, she said this isn't going to deter her from breeding her dogs again.
Two firefighters were sent to the hospital with exhaustion. When firefighters left around 3:00am, the fire rekindled, so the crews had to come back and put it out again around 5:30am.
News10NBC has learned that Lori Hicks is an assistant trainer at Boomtowne Canine Campus in Farmington. They have set up an online fundraiser to help Lori and her dogs.