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Nearly 100 Animals Killed in PetSmart Fire

By Mallory Cooke
By mcooke@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn.--A fire at PetSmart in North Jackson killed almost 100 animals Sunday morning.

The fire temporarily shut down the store on Vann Drive.

“We had cats,” said Battalion Chief Gregory Pewitte, with the Jackson Fire Department. “We had reptiles, hamsters, gerbils. We had fish that were still in the store.”

PetSmart confirms 40 birds and 53 other small animals died in the fire. Investigators believe an electrical problem sparked the flames.

“There was some kind of fixture inside the bird cage itself, either it overheated or shorted out,” aid Pewitte.

The store sustained water and smoke damage. Firefighters called in the Jackson-Madison Emergency Management Agency to help relocate the surviving animals.

“It was filled with smoke, so you know animals are just like humans, they gotta breath and have clean air,” said Jackson-Madison County EMA Director Marty Clements.

A disaster animal response team moved more than 50 animals to a temporary shelter. The Jackson-Madison County Humane Society had six cats at the store up for adoption. They all survived.

“We were really relieved because you never know how bad a fire is, but this one was contained really relatively fast and the cats are in good shape,” said Micki Page, with the humane society.

For now the store stays shut, bad news for the already full humane society trying to adopt out animals.

“It'll be a definite detriment,” said Page.

The fire did not injure any humans. PetSmart could not say when the store will reopen.