CAROL STREAM, Ill. – At least 30 dogs died in an early morning blaze at an Illinois kennel Monday, according to WGN. The kennel's owner, along with firefighters, were able to rescue more than 20 dogs.
Officials said the fire started around 5:30 a.m. at D and D Kennel in Carol Stream. The kennel’s owner, Garrett Mercado, lives above the kennel but was not home when the fire broke out.
When he returned to see the flames, Mercado rushed in to save as many dogs as he could, leaving his hands blistered from unlatching the kennel locks. "Whoever could follow me, I was just hoping that they would," Mercado said, his voice shaking.
Mercado lost all but one of his own dogs in the fire.
Mercado has owned the kennel for about year and specializes in dogs that have been abused or have behavioral issues. "I really try to give the behavior-challenged dogs another chance," Mercado said.
The dogs he housed come from other shelters and some private owners.
Mercado and firefighters were about to save 20 dogs.
"What we encountered inside was terrible, it was really sad," said Carol Stream Fire Chief Bob Hoff.
In the confusion, some dogs bit three firefighters. Six dogs ran away but five were later found.
The rescued dogs were taken to the DuPage County Animal Care and Control.
The cause of the fire wasn't immediately clear.