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10:07 PM Tue, Jan. 22nd

Residents aid veterinarian following fire

The 14 small, white crosses in front of the Kingman Animal Hospital bear the names of 14 pets that died in Friday's fire.

Kingman residents have driven by the hospital on Northern Avenue to leave flowers, teddy bears, photographs and hand written messages at each cross.

"All day, friends and clients have stopped by or have called offering help and to give support," Richard Burrows, the hospital's owner and veterinarian, said.

"The pets are like children to these people.

It's just as painful."

Burrows, who lost two pets to the fire, is assuring grieving pet owners that the animals did not suffer in the tragedy.

"They all just went to sleep in the carbon monoxide," he said.

"None of the bodies were burned in the fire."

As many as 30 or 40 animals have been housed at the hospital at any one time, so the tragedy could have been even worse, he said.

The fire started in the furnace closet in the back of the 15-year-old building.

The cause is still unknown but believed to be accidental, Hualapai Valley fire Chief Del Plumley said.

Most of the damage inside the building was smoke related.

Damage amount is estimated to be at least $100,000, Plumley said.

"There was a ton of smoke damage with some heat damage," he said.

Burrows said he expects to reopen the hospital in a week or two, but in case it takes longer, he will look for a temporarily building.

Kingman's four other animal hospitals have also called him up offering support, he said.

Burrows has owned the hospital for about three years, having practiced as a veterinarian in Alaska and Idaho.

Burrows said he is planning to build a memorial next to the hospital with a plaque with the names of each pet on it.