Deadly pet resort fire motivates local facility to update protection plan

Deputy fire marshal says local pet boarding facilities are not required to have alarms, sprinklers.
After Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown caught fire Saturday night, killing 75 dogs, new protections are to be put in place by the owner.
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - After Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown caught fire Saturday night, killing 75 dogs, the owner of Barking Oaks Pet Resort in Temple is jumping into action to make sure protections are in place at her facility.

Owner, Hansy Howard, says she’s investing in more than $10,000 worth of fire protection improvements like additional fire extinguishers and adding smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

As a pet boarding facility, local fire code does not require alarms or sprinklers, similar to the facility in Georgetown.

“Pet boarding facilities are defined in the class B occupancy,” Temple Deputy Fire Marshal, Micah Whitlock explained Tuesday.

He says in Temple, they follow a nationally recognized fire code that puts pet boarding facilities in the same category as businesses like banks, post offices and dentist offices.

“They’re considered low hazard,” Whitlock explains.

For that classification he says they’re required to have fire extinguishers, proper exit signs and are subject to yearly checks of their electrical system. The pet facilities in the city aren’t big enough to require more than that, according to Whitlock.

“Multiple stories, several thousand square feet that’s when you start getting into the requirements for sprinklers and alarms,” he said.

Though they’re not required at her Temple facility, Howard says adding alarms is worth the investment.

“[The fire in Georgetown] scared me because it could happen to anyone’s kennel,” Howard said.

She says they already had more extinguishers than the code requires, but that its not enough.

“Every dog that comes in here is like a prized possession in your hands that you have to take care of,” she explained.

She says she’s also looking into staffing her facility 24 hours a day and adding a sprinkler system.

Whitlock says while the sprinklers aren’t required its something they always recommend.

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