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Lightning sparks fire at pet kennel in Toombs County killing 22 dogs, 1 cat

Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 3:27 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2018 at 7:40 PM EDT
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LYONS, GA (WTOC) - The Toombs County fire chief has confirmed to WTOC that a lightning strike hit the roof of Tiffany's Kennels on Loop Road in Lyons Tuesday night, causing a fire.

Sadly, the fire claimed the lives of 22 dogs and one cat.

"It went through the roof in two places and went straight into some 220 lines feeding the air conditioners/cooling units, that kind of stuff," said Wendell Harvey, Toombs County Fire Investigator.

This fire took more than Tiffany Alexander could imagine. She and her family returned home Tuesday night and looked at the kennel that's been in the family nearly 40 years.

"I looked closer and saw the smoke and it was faster than I could speak," Alexander said.

It started from a lightning strike to the roof that hit the wiring to the air conditioner units.

"It started here and burned four rafters over and three over that way. Right here is where the fire started, directly over the kennels," Harvey said.

It didn't burn through the roof so the smoke filled the downstairs shop and the kennel.

"That's actually what caused the death of the animals was the smoke," said Chief Johnny Moser, Toombs County Fire Department.

Tiffany's own animals were among those that died.

"My heart bleeds for these people, these animals. I keep telling myself that it was beyond my control," she said.

Alexander says she's tried to comfort the pet owners by phone and they've done the same for her. While the building might be repairable, she's not sure she could do this again.

"As of today, because I'm taking it one day at a time," I'm not doing it. My heart's broken."

Friends and loved ones are helping the Alexanders through their loss as they figure out what to do next.

Stay with WTOC for the latest updates.

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