CHICAGO (CBS) — More than two dozen dogs were killed in a fire Monday morning at D and D Kennels in West Chicago, and a search is underway for others that escaped.
Just under 60 dogs from shelters or private clients were staying at the facility when the fire broke out around 5:30 a.m.
Carol Stream fire chief Bob Hoff said 25 to 30 rescue dogs died. Another 25 dogs were rescued, Hoff said. Three firefighters were bitten during the rescue.
Some suffered minor injuries and were taken to the nearby DuPage County Animal Control facility.
The dogs who were kept on the second floor of the two-story building, located at 2n144 N. County Farm Road, died, Hoff said.
The dog trainer at the facility was injured trying to free the dogs from their crates. Sadly he could not save them all.
“You do what you can and hope you can save as many as you can,” Garrett Mercado said.
Mercado arrived home early Monday morning and said his kennel building was “glowing” with fire. He fought through the flames to rescue the dogs that were trapped on the second floor.
“I couldn’t get to some of the crates, and when I was going to try to unlatch them I was burning myself,” he said.
“It’s and extremely sad day here that we couldn’t do more, but the fire conditions didn’t warrant us to get inside as quickly as we could. And the dogs that we did find upstairs were trapped in cages,” Hoff said.
Mercado lost five of his own dogs.
“Its just a piece of me that I can’t get back, and physically I’m OK. My wounds will heal, but this is something I wouldn’t wish upon anybody,” he said.
Several of the dogs ran away during the commotion, Hoff said.
Hunter, one dog found wandering down the street more than 10 hours later, will be reunited with his owner who thought he’d never see him again.
Hoff says they don’t know the cause of the fire, and with much of the second floor burned through, it will be difficult for investigators to determine.
“I confirmed that the facility passed an inspection in March of 2018 and had working smoke detectors,” Hoff said.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture says the kennel also passed a kennel operator inspection in the fall.