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100 animals die in fire at Uncle Bill's Pet Center on west side of Indianapolis

Fire reported around 9 p.m. Monday
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Posted at 7:49 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 12:29:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An estimated 100 animals died Monday night when a fire filled a pet store on the west side of Indianapolis with "thick smoke and deadly gasses," fire officials said.

The fire was reported around 9 p.m. at Uncle Bill's Pet Center at Georgetown Plaza in the 4800 block of West 38th Street, according to IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

Firefighters found black smoke pouring out of the building when they arrived. The fire was under control by 10 p.m., but crews initially had trouble finding its source.

Reith called the fire "a horrible tragedy" and said approximately 40 dogs, 25 parakeets, rabbits and other animals died of smoke inhalation.

Multiple reptiles, fish, "a resilient guinea pig" and an office cat survived and were taken for medical evaluation.

"The animals were still in their respective cages and simply succumbed to the deadly gases produced by the smoke," Reith said.

The fire was contained to the roof of the store and no other buildings in the strip were damaged.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Reith said.