CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - After an accidental fire caused dozens of animals to be evacuated, a pet boarding facility in Charlottesville is working to make safety improvements to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
The staff has been working around the clock since August to get things back up and running. August 18 was a nightmare for people who took their pets to Pet Paradise in Charlottesville.
"Thankfully the first responders were really quick, they went through and just got all the pets that were in the building, really a scary time for us and the community for the pet owners as well,” Regional Director Zach Gould said.
An accidental fire likely caused by an electrical box malfunction caused over 70 pets to be evacuated. Now, the boarding and daycare facility is looking to do things a little differently.
"Now we're really in a permitting stage where we hope to get the building back up to our standards,” Gould said.
The main building where the fire started is still being renovated. Gould and other members of the Pet Paradise team have been working with the Charlottesville Fire Department to figure out how to make safety improvements to the building to avoid a repeat of this down the road.
"When we get that building back up and running it'll have a full sprinkler system, I think we knew that we were fully up to the building code that was required but that didn't require sprinklers,” Gould said.
The building that caught fire housed 65% of the kennels, including the only boarding rooms for cats.
Gould says the fire has made the Florida based company reconsider fire safety practices at all of its locations. "It’s been a great opportunity for us as a company not just in Charlottesville about what we're doing from a fire safety perspective."
Pet Paradise expects the renovations to be done sometime this spring. Once they are complete they will continue to board animals at the same rate as before the fire.