EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. --
A kennel owner risked injury when she tried to save the animals inside during a fire in Excelsior Springs Sunday morning.
Manager Barbara Baldridge said she rushed to Tails B Waggin kennel around 1:15 a.m. to try to save 16 dogs locked in their cages. Fire officials said the blaze began in the back of the Thrift Store next door and quickly spread toward the kennel as Baldridge ran inside to save the dogs.
"My adrenaline was pumping so fast the only thing I thought about was getting the dogs to safety," Baldridge said. "There were flames shooting out the back. I kept feeling something on my back that I thought would be embers but it was actually the firemen shooting water to get flames out."
Jennifer Gladbach broke into tears when she arrived at the kennel and saw her Shih-tzu, Toby. She'd left him overnight. When she went to pick him up, she saw the charred skeleton of her kennel, destroyed by fire.
"It was very emotional when we pulled up," Gladbach said. "There was a lady standing there that said they got all the dogs out so I was very thankful."
All the dogs escaped and went to the Animal Shelter until their owners could pick them up.
The fire destroyed most of the building, owned by Meet The Need, a nonprofit that gives out food and clothing to the needy.
"When we don't have a building to sell our donated items, we don't have the funding to run any of our programs," Kris Peoples, president of Meet The Need, said.
Peoples said she bought the building three months ago. She said thousands of dollars in donated goods were destroyed.
She said while insurance will pay off the mortgage, there won't be enough money to rebuild, so she worries about where the needy will go for help.
"Our main concern is their well-being," Peoples said. "This may look awful, but they're trying to figure out how to eat."
Excelsior Springs fire officials say it appears the fire was accidental, but they still don't know exactly how the fire started.
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