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30 Dogs Feared Dead Following Michigan Kennel Fire

A fire broke out early Friday morning at a Michigan kennel, and is believed to have killed all 30 dogs inside, many of which were placed at the facility while their families went away on spring vacation.

Janet Rehfus, of Storm's Ahead Kennels in Nunica, tells NPR that the 30 dogs inside were boarder dogs alongside her own personal dogs, and she is devastated by the loss.

"The heartbreak we feel for the families is immeasurable," she wrote in an email. "We treasure each dog that stays with us."

Rehfus said she has spent the day contacting families individually.

"We are reaching out to each family to express our sadness," she said. "In return, through their grief, they are offering prayers to us and each other."

The fire broke out before dawn Friday morning. Rehfus says her son woke her up and she saw the nearby kennel in flames.

Fruitport Township Director of Public Safety Brian Michelli told the Associated Press that by the time firefighters arrived, the kennel was already engulfed.

"There was no ability to do a rescue," he said.

The kennel was reportedly filled to capacity as local families took advantage of spring break at area schools to get away.

It bills itself as "Full service Dog boarding, all breed obedience and hunting retriever training."

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

"A very tragic accident," Rehfus said.

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Amy Held is an editor on the newscast unit. She regularly reports breaking news on air and online.
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