Dozens of exotic animals dead after fire tears through Surrey rescue centre

Dozens of exotic animals dead after fire tears through Surrey rescue centre

There is work to be done at the Urban Safari Rescue Society in South Surrey after a fire on Saturday morning destroyed the living room and killed around 60 animals.

“We’ve lost all the mammals — the sugar gliders, the guinea pigs, the skinny pigs (hairless guinea pigs), the birds … a lot of reptiles — we’ve lost frogs, some geckos, some snakes, and all the fish except some of the betas,” Pamala-Rose said Combs, vice president of the board of directors of the rescue society.

The front room is home to many smaller animals and species like bugs and spiders, so about 200 of the rescue’s about 325 animals were in the room where the fire lay, she said.

“Everyone wants to know what happened to the roaches — the hissing Madagascar roaches,” Combs noted.

“One in 100 died, so they mostly made it.”

READ MORE: Fire kills ‘many’ animals at Urban Safari Rescue Society in South Surrey on Saturday morning

For now, she and her staff and volunteers are “focused on what needs to be done” and trying to push aside the sad aspects of the fire and its aftermath.

“When we start focusing on the animals that didn’t make it and the animals that we might still lose and the amount of work that goes into that, it can get a little overwhelming,” he said her on Sunday.

“The risk we face now is secondary respiratory infections.”

Two different vets will be visiting over the next few days to help assess and treat the remaining animals, all of whom have been moved to another part of the sanctuary or temporarily cared for off-site.

“We’re still sighting, but I think we’re coming out, we’re looking at the cleaning — everything’s covered in a thick layer of soot,” Combs said.

“When you start adding up the cost of everything — all the tanks, the furniture, new front door locks… it just adds up. We don’t know how much the insurance will cover. We hope to hear back from the (insurance) adjuster on Monday or Tuesday.”

In the meantime, they’re buying heaters to keep any animals that were moved warm and replacing every single power rail and wire because they don’t know what was damaged by the fire.

The room will need a “complete gutting,” which will likely require rewiring as well, she said.

Even as they deal with the chaos, there were “little bright spots.”

They thought the fairy frog was dead, but it turns out it only stayed underwater long enough to wait for the fire and smoky surroundings.

“We went in today to clean his tank because we thought he was gone — and he’s moved!” she said.

A small boa named Solo also made it thanks to the fact that it had just been switched into a shell that fell into the fire and broke the tip so it could escape.

“He’s lost an eye, he may lose his other eye, but he’s alive and seems fine!”

They hope the rising costs will be offset by an ongoing GoFundMe fundraiser.

About $2,000 from GoFundMe is current, but the majority of that is from 2020 to sometime last year, Combs said, noting that she didn’t want to open a brand new account if one was already active.

Help is needed for the cleanup and they try to keep everyone as up to date as possible via the society’s Facebook page.

“One of the heartwarming moments in all of this heartbreak is the sheer amount of support that’s coming from the public,” Combs said.

“To see it and to see all the people that are showing up here to help … to know that we still mean something to the community and that they still care about us — it means so much in all of this.”

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