Manchester Dogs' Home blaze kills dozens of animals

Image source, GMP/PA
Image caption, Manchester Dogs' Home said 60 dogs were housed in the worst-affected building

A blaze that swept through a dogs' home has now claimed the lives of 60 animals, police have said.

More than 150 dogs were rescued from the fire, which broke out at Manchester Dogs' Home in Moss Brook Road in Harpurhey on Thursday evening.

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson and is being questioned.

A JustGiving account set up by the Manchester Evening News had raised more than £860,000 by 17:00 BST.

The newspaper has also captured aerial footage showing the extent of the damage caused by the blaze.

In the aftermath of the fire, the manager of the home said 60 dogs had been housed in the worst-affected building.

Image source, john heslop
Image caption, A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the blaze

Emergency services said 43 animals were confirmed dead, with the figure expected to rise. The total was revised later in the afternoon.

Firefighters said the 150 dogs rescued from the fire had been moved to a sister site, Cheshire Dogs' Home.

'Angry and upset'

A statement from the home said: "The staff and trustees of Cheshire Dogs' Home near Warrington would like to express their enormous gratitude for the huge support received from the public following the devastating fire at its sister site Manchester Dogs' Home last night."

Hundreds of messages of sympathy have been left on the JustGiving page, as the amount of money donated continues to rise.

Julie Fowler wrote: "Thinking of all staff and dogs, RIP to those who didn't make it."

Julie Eccleston posted: "From here all I can do is donate money. Bless you, local people, for helping out."

Michelle Adamson, BBC Radio Manchester, from the scene

Image source, Manchester Fire
Image caption, More than 150 dogs were rescued from the fire

This fire has created such a massive reaction from people who have been so upset about it. Concerned local residents were still arriving at 5am asking if there was anything they could do to help.

Thousands of dogs are looked after at the home every year, and there has been a massive response to an appeal for money, showing just how much this has affected people.

There was still a fire engine at the scene this morning and an area surrounding the site of the fire has been closed off while an investigation continues.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) tweeted its thanks to people who have donated money, saying: "One hundred and fifty dogs rescued. Thousands of pounds donated. Thank you Greater Manchester."

Det Insp Neil Jones, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "The response from the public has been overwhelming and this is clearly an incident that has tugged on the heartstrings of many.

"A number of people, including police officers and staff were quickly on the scene and put their life on the line to help with the rescue effort."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, Several dogs rescued from the fire were moved to Cheshire Dogs' Home in Warrington
Image caption, Volunteers arrived at the scene overnight to help with blankets and other supplies

He added: "We are determined to establish exactly how and why this fire started and will be working closely with our partners from the fire service.

"Anyone wanting to donate items such as food and blankets can do so by bringing them to the north Manchester police headquarters."

Supt Marcus Noden, of GMFRS, appealed for anyone with information about the fire to come forward - and also urged people to remain calm in the wake of the dogs' deaths.

"As a dog owner myself I understand that many people will feel angry and upset about what has happened, but I would ask that they let the police carry out their investigations and not take matters into their own hands."

'Nation of animal lovers'

A statement posted on Manchester and Cheshire Dogs' Home's Facebook page said: "The staff and volunteers at Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home worked tirelessly through the evening to get as many dogs as possible to safety.

"The local community has rallied around us and a drop-off point for donations has been designated at Christchurch on Water Street, Harpurhey - food and blankets are our main need at the moment.

"We owe a great thanks to animal wardens, Dogs Trust Manchester, Pennine Pen and numerous RSPCA inspectors for their assistance in transport to other kennels for the dogs that survived; there are too many individuals to thank by name."

Image source, PA
Image caption, The scene of the fire has been closed off to allow an investigation

The RSPCA described the fire as "heartbreaking".

In a statement it said: "A terrible event like this does show what a nation of animal lovers we are, and there has been a flood of support from the local community and on social channels.

"Animal rescuers worked side by side to help care for the rescued animals that were, thankfully, saved."

RSPCA Ch Insp Mark Ghent said: "There is still a lot of work to be done on the recovery side but the management at the dogs' home have an emergency plan in place. We have offered our help and they have our contact numbers if they want and need our help."

The Manchester home was established in 1893 and cares for more than 7,000 dogs every year.

It is run entirely on donations from the general public.

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