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Fire that killed 7 cats at Durham animal hospital was accidental. Dogs, iguana saved.

A fire that killed seven cats at a south Durham animal hospital Tuesday night appears to have been accidental, the Durham Fire Department said Wednesday.

Fourteen dogs and an iguana were rescued and taken to a nearby 24-hour veterinary hospital, officials said. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.

The fire was discovered after breaking glass set off a burglary alarm at the Falconbridge Animal Hospital at 1401 N.C. 54 West and an officer responding to the alarm saw the flames, fire officials said.

Judi Anderson, a voluntary spokesperson for practice, said the animals were being boarded at the clinic and the dogs and iguana that survived are doing well.

“I do not know when they will be released, but they will all absolutely recover,” Anderson said.

Sprinkler not required

Firefighters were dispatched at 9:53 p.m., according to a Fire Department news release. They found flames shooting from the rear of the one-story veterinary practice.

They had the blaze under control in 11 minutes, the release said..

The building didn’t have a sprinkler system, according to city inspections plans which also did not show a fire alarm. Neither was required for the business under the state fire code, said Durham Fire Marshal Jody Morton, who is also assistant chief of fire prevention.

The fire was contained to the break room, but heat and smoke spread through the building, Battalion Chief Andy Thomas said. The animals that died succumbed to smoke inhalation, he said.

The fire reignited and fire crews had to return to the business, The News & Observer’s news gathering partner ABC11 reported.

Falconbridge began serving the Durham-Chapel Hill area in 1996, according to its website, and moved to its current location in 2011.

The 5,500 square foot practice is owned by Dr. Shelli Karl, Anderson said.

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