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'Worst nightmare': 23 cats killed in Orlando shelter fire

Many animals at the shelter when the fire started were rescued from Hurricane Ida, according to reports.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Animals hoping to get a second chance after being rescued from Hurricane Ida may have been killed in a shelter fire in Orlando, reports say. 

In a statement on its Facebook page, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando said the shelter lost 23 cats to the fire, adding that firefighters and staff were able to save all the dogs.

Steve Bardy, the shelter's executive director, said it was his "worst nightmare," the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The fire started Wednesday night and crews continued to battle the fire into the early morning hours Thursday. The blaze's origin is believed to have started near the front of the building, adjacent to the cat room, the Sentinel said.

"Flames [were] through the roof" of the building, the Orange County Fire Rescue said on Twitter.

Several cats and dogs were rescued from the fire, WKMG reports. WFTV says about 25 dogs were in the shelter and all got out safe. All of the saved animals will be transported to the shelter's Sanford location for assessment and care, according to the Pet Alliance.

“If you run a shelter, this is literally your worst nightmare, to see your building on fire and to know that there are animals in there that you’re in charge to care for, and you can’t go in,” Bardy said to WKMG.

Many of the animals in the shelter when the fire started had been rescued from Hurricane Ida, Bardy told WFTV. It is not clear if any of those animals died. 

Firefighters don't know what caused the fire, reports say. No humans were hurt in the blaze, according to reports.

You can donate to the shelter's recovery efforts here.

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RELATED: Sarasota County humane society opens its doors for animals displaced by Ida

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