FD: At least 5 dogs killed in Scottsdale fire

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Scottsdale Fire Department said at least five dogs were killed in a kennel fire Friday night.

It happened near 120th Street and Mountain View Road.

"We didn't know what we had at first," said Scottsdale Fire Division Chief Jay Ducote. "It was kind of back by an equestrian center back here. It's kind of hard to get to. ... It was a tough access and once we got back there, we put the bulk of the fire down."

Ducote said firefighters had only two fire hydrants available and they were far from the structure.

The flames did not spread to the home on the property.

Ducote said the homeowner originally told firefighters she has up to 20 dogs. However, on Saturday morning, she said she has a total of 15 and all but five are kept in the barn kennel.

Five dogs were found deceased on the north side of the kennel. Firefighters were looking for the other five on the south side of the structure Saturday morning.

"The flames were like 40 feet in the air, and I knew there was no hope," said Valerie Skidmore. "I lost some beautiful service Papillons and a few rescues I had that I was working with."

Skidmore said all 10 dogs kept in the kennel were Papillons.

"People contact me that need them, usually people that are hurting, people that need some companionship, people who've lost a loved one, people who are medical," she said. "It's something God's had me do for 20-something years to help people."

Skidmore said she lost her husband two months ago and raising the dogs has helped her deal with the loss.

"Love either the person or the animal you have as long as you have, and remember all the good times you have with them. That is the main thing," she said.

Skidmore also stored works of art and books in the barn, which she said likely fueled the fire.

Ducote said the city of Scottsdale has an equestrian center nearby, but the center and its horses were not threatened.

"We balanced into a first alarm just to get more crews out here," Ducote said. "Even though it's nighttime, with all that gear on the firefighters get really hot and we're trying to rotate crews."

Ducote said 65 firefighters were on scene.

The cause is under investigation.