Arvada firefighters said they were able to rescue 22 of the 25 dogs in a kennel where a fire broke out Monday morning.
The fire started around 8 a.m. at Best Friends Pet Kennel, a boarding facility for dogs, near West 44th Avenue and Robb Street in Wheat Ridge.
Firefighters arrived minutes after the call came in and said heavy smoke was coming from the back of the one-story, brick building. Crews were able to put the fire out.
Arvada fire said three dogs died in the fire. Ten dogs were taken to Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital for observation and 10 other dogs were placed in another kennel on the property.
Two dogs that weren't breathing when they were found were resuscitated by fire crews and were taken to Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in critical condition.
"Most of them were pretty lethargic," said Lt. Steve Smith. "They had taken in a lot of smoke."
Smith said he used his own air tank to revive the dogs.
"I turned on my bypass and put it right up to its snout," he said.
He then used an oxygen mask made especially for dogs and cats and kept petting them until they were revived.
Arvada fire said all of the fire vehicles that responded to the fire had the special pet masks thanks to a donation.
The woman who donated all these to the department is the lady whose building caught fire," said Smith.
The people at Best Friends Pet Care said they had no idea when they made the mask donation that they would benefit themselves.
The fire was ruled accidental and fire investigators said it was started by the water heater in the building's workroom.
The kennel said it is covering all the costs of burials and any vet care incurred from the fire.
Veterinarians said most of the dogs' injuries were caused by severe smoke inhalation.
One dog named Snafu and several others were still feeling the effects of smoke inhalation Tuesday.
"About 75 percent of them had higher than normal carbon dioxide levels," said veterinarian Elisa Mazzaferro.
Three other dogs, including one named Lady Bug, were still in critical condition Tuesday.
"The three critical dogs might have chronic lung problems as well as neurological problems such as difficulty walking or seizures," said Mazzaferro.
The smoke was just too much for a dog named Kingston, one of the three dogs killed in the fire, Clear Creek County Animal Rescue League said in a release Monday. Kingston was one of the their rescue dogs and was brought to Best Friends Kennel because the foster homes were full.
CCCARL said Kingston had been hit by a car and underwent surgery to repair his leg.
CCCARL said it is planning to set up a memorial fund in Kingston's name to help other rescue pets. For more information or to donate to the memorial fund, click here or you can call Julie Quaife at 303-890-1806.