Around 6 a.m., thick smoke filled Cumberland Animal Hospital on Pamalee Dr. A smoke alarm was activated, and the fire department was alerted.
Cats and dogs locked in cages could not escape, though firefighters tried to get out as many of the animals as possible.
Clinic veterinarian Dr. Millard Price arrived after firefighters broke in. Price saved seven dogs and took them to another veteranian's office on Bragg Boulevard.
The animals Price rescued were in stable condition Saturday night, but six cats and seven dogs died from smoke inhalation.
Investigators said the fire may have started in a back room in the building. There were multiple electrical cords plugged into one base outlet.
The staff notified pet owners, many of whom were out of town. Many people boarded their pets at the facility so they could travel this holiday week, which meant there were more animals at the hospital than usual.
The hospital sustained mostly smoke damage. Employees spent the day cleaning up and repairing the damage. Officials have not decided when the hospital may reopen.
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