2 dozen animals rescued from burning building in Warren

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A fire at a Warren building led to the rescue of about 25 animals Wednesday that appeared to have been neglected, investigators said.

The animals did not seem to have been affected by the blaze but were found in "squalid conditions," including some in cages, , Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said.

The building was an older commercial structure with living quarters on the upper level. The animals were found on the ground floor, he said.

"This is a more of a neglect issue related to having too many pets and somebody not able to take care of all of them," he said. "There is a potential, on the police side, to go further with this because of the conditions found."

Fire crews were called to the 6200 block of Van Dyke about 12:20 p.m. after smoke was found billowing from the second story, McAdams said.

The blaze was contained to the room where it originated and quickly extinguished, but during a search, the firefighters found the animals on the ground floor, he said.

City officials gathered 16 dogs, five cats, two turtles and a ferret. They found three dead cats that appeared to have died before the incident, the fire commissioner said.

Investigators reached the owner, who was not in the building when flames erupted but who returned and agreed to surrender the animals to the city, McAdams said. An animal control officer determined three of the dogs were healthy enough for immediate adoption, so those canines went to firefighters who stepped up, he said. "Those three are definitely safe and being loved."

Animal control was working with other groups to evaluate and tend to the remaining rescues, McAdams said. 

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.