A faulty dryer at Seminole County Animal Services in Sanford is being blamed for killing 40 animals early Thursday, according to Local 6 News.
Wednesday night, Seminole County firefighters were called to Seminole County Animal Services after someone smelled smoke. However, no fire was found.
About six hours later at 2 a.m., firefighters responded to flames at the animal facility.
The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes but not before 32 cats and seven dogs were killed. Other animals were also treated for smoke inhalation.
Animal Service workers rushed to help the trapped animals early Thursday.
"What was running through our heads was save the animals," Vet Tech Denise Sims said. "They were the most important things. Buildings can be replaced but little lives cannot."
Nearly 300 animals at the clinic survived the fire.
"They think a faulty dryer started this," Local 6's Tiffany Tift said. "There are washers and dryers back in the back area of the building."
Firefighters have not confirmed the cause of the fire.
Animal Services officials were asking for blankets, litter pans, bowls and food for the animals.
An investigation into the fire continues.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.