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Fire kills ‘many’ animals at Urban Safari Rescue Society Saturday morning in South Surrey

Exotic animal rescue’s social media notes business is closed, bookings cancelled
A fire at Urban Safari Rescue Society Saturday morning has killed several animals, according to the society’s social media posts. (Urban Safari Rescue Society/Facebook photo)

A fire at Urban Safari Rescue Society Saturday morning killed several animals, according to the group’s Facebook page.

“We are closed until further notice. We have suffered a devastating fire. We will post further details later. We are not taking phone calls at this time; direct any questions through direct message please and we will respond as we can,” the exotic animal rescue society’s Facebook page on Saturday.

Surrey Fire Service assistant chief of operations Greg McRobbie confirmed dispatch received a call about a possible structure fire at the society’s address, 1395 176 St., at 8:54 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 28).

“We had 18 firefighters respond. When crews arrived, there was nothing seen on arrival,” he said.

“They made entry into the building and found light to moderate smoke conditions… there was a small fire contained to a heating unit on one of the animal cages.”

Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze, ventilated the building, and supported staff by helping to move the animals and their cages outside.

McRobbie did not know how many animals died due to the fire, but the Urban Safari Rescue Society’s Facebook page noted, “Unfortunately we have lost many animals but we have also saved many.”

“We are still in triage mode,” one of the Saturday posts reads.

“There is significant damage to the front area of the building. We have met with the insurance adjuster and the emergency crew started the air scrubbing fans this afternoon.

“The fire started when the power came back on at some point last night. It came back with a surge that overpowered the surge protector that was powering a snake tank. The ensuing smouldering fire filled the room with smoke and soot. Many animals perished. Firefighters, police, staff and volunteers rescued many animals. We are communicating with vets and are arranging for antibiotics to try and prevent additional losses from respiratory illness caused by smoke inhalation,” the post states.

The post continued to let people know they will be closed for the foreseeable future and have cancelled any scheduled bookings.

“Many people are asking how they can help. Please spread the word about what happened and the link to our (monthly) GoFundMe account which is being temporarily tasked with collecting donations to help us recover from the fire,” the post reads.

The society’s phone message directed everyone to their Facebook page for updates while they recover.

“While we have insurance, it will not cover everything. We were just starting to recover from the loss of business due to Covid cancellations, another closure is going to make things really difficult,” the society’s post says.

The posts also gave thanks to first responders and the outpouring of well wishes from the local community.

READ ALSO: South Surrey’s Urban Safari animal sanctuary raising funds through 50/50

“Thank you everyone for your kind words and thoughts. Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to save and relocate animals.

“We will continue to assess the situation and should we need more volunteers we will post a call out. Monetary donations will be gladly accepted to help us to rebuild homes for our much loved animals. All of the surviving animals now have temporary homes.”


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Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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