Fire causes major damage to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter. Several animals died in the fire, many are still missing.

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Update Sunday 7:30 p.m.:
The Knox-Whitley County Animal Shelter is already looking for a new temporary home, only a couple days after a fire killed dozens of their animals.

A volunteer with the Knox-Whitley County Animal Shelter told WBIR 10News on Sunday that they now know that most of the shelter's cats passed away in the Friday evening fire.

Theresa Martin said only 3 of their 37 cats survived the fire. She said that's because the cats were in an interior room of the shelter and rescuers were only able to release a few of them before the roof started to collapse.

However, Martin said 23 of the shelter's 25 dogs made it out safely. The house dog reportedly died from smoke inhalation and another dog was still unaccounted for.

Martin said the shelter plans to rebuild but is still deciding whether to stay at the same location, or relocate to someone closer to where more people could find them.

In the meantime, the Knox-Whitley County Animal Shelter is looking to borrow or lease a temporary building for 3-6 months to house new dogs and cats that get brought in. Martin said the ideal building would be at least 1500 square feet with electricity, water, heat, and located in Knox (KY.) or Whitley counties. Anyone with information on a possible building is acted to contact Chuck Ledford at 606-627-9477.

More information can be found on the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Facebook page.

Previous story:
(WBIR-Rockholds, KY) At least one dog and a guinea pig are dead after flames ripped through the Knox-Whitley County Animal Shelter Friday night.

Another dog and dozens of cats are unaccounted for as of Saturday.

Firefighters were called to the animal shelter around 9:45 p.m. Friday.

Theresa Martin, a volunteer at the animal shelter, arrived at the shelter Saturday morning without knowledge of the fire.

She said, "As I drove up, I saw the devastation." She continued , "I was coming to transport dogs up to Lexington to the PetSmart to do a mobile adoption event and I was going to pick up five dogs."

Instead of finding the animals, Martin found the building badly burned and the roof had collapsed.

At the time of the fire, firefighters and volunteers opened as many kennels as they could before the roof fell.

Martin said the animal shelter housed 21 dogs, 37 cats, and 1 guinea pig. As of Saturday afternoon, 19 dogs were accounted for and one was still missing The shelter's house dog, Sassy, died in the fire.

Martin said, "[Sassy] greeted everyone who would come in. She would go to nursing homes. She would go to all of the events. She was the ambassador for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter."

Of the 37 cats, Martin said only eight have been accounted for. She fearful many of the felines are also dead.

The shelter's guinea pig also died in the fire.

Virginia Thompson of Rockholds, KY said, "I think an animal's life is precious as a persons and I think that was a horrible, horrible death."

Kenneth Cumpston of Corbin, KY said, "I hate that animals had to suffer that way. It's just a horrible way to go, being stuck in the fire."

Thompson and Cumpston went to the animal shelter Saturday offering to foster any animal that needed a home, however the animals that have been found have already been taken in by other community members.

The shelter, which has only two paid employees, said it plans to rebuild and continue helping animals in need.

Monetary donations can be made at Forcht Bank. The animal shelter said it will open a second donation account at Hometown Bank. There's also a PayPal account for donations. Visit the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter's official Facebook page for more information, https://www.facebook.com/#!/knoxwhitleyanimalshelter.

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