It was a normal day and I was doing a normal second turnout. I was working in the kennel while Richard was in the pens with the dogs. I smelled smoke. I looked around and I couldn't find anything amiss so I walked to the door. The smell was stronger. I still didn't see anything but I thought there must be a small forest fire near by and I went back into the kennel.
A few minutes later I noticed the smell again and once again I walked to the door. Again the smell was stronger even though I couldn't see anything wrong. I asked Richard if he could smell smoke and he told me "no". I dismissed it again as just being my imagination.
I walked back into the kennel, still looking around and then I saw it. There was smoke swirling around the eaves of the kennel. I looked over at the dividing wall between the kennel next door and ourselves and I could see smoke pouring through the cracks! The fire was in the kennel next door. No wonder I couldn't see anything wrong! Thankfully all but a couple of our dogs were already outside. I ran out to see my husband coming out from the kennel across the street.
I told him to go to the guardshack and notify the guard that there was a fire in the building and to get help back here fast! Bobby jumped into the car while I desperately tried to figure out what to do next. I had almost 100 dogs in the turnout pen. I couldn't leave them because I knew all hell was going to break loose in minutes. I didn't know exactly where the fire was because each building was divided into 4 kennels. I tried to bang on Jimmy's wall to the kennel on my back wall but nobody was in there. Potentially there were 3 other kennels full of dogs which were on fire!
Then the guard pulled up and raced to Liberty Kennel which was the kennel I saw the smoke coming from. People were already running from all over the compound. My dogs were starting to mill about restlessly because of the out of the ordinary activity going on. I couldn't leave them. Thankfully the guard had a master key! When he opened the door there were at least 2 other trainers with him and black smoke billowed from the door. It was so thick they couldn't see inside the kennel.
The trainers raced inside and started to open crate doors to let the dogs out while the guard went into the kitchen and found the source of the fire. A hot plate had fallen off the counter and landed on a pile of feed that was stacked there. The bags had smoldered until they had burst into flame! Thankfully the fire was small but it produced tons of smoke. The guard had no problem putting it out before the fire department even got to the compound.
As the trainers let all the dogs out they raced outside where other trainers were guiding them into the pens and filling water buckets. The poor greyhounds had inhaled so much smoke that many of them were throwing up in the turnout pen! The poor things looked like they had major bout of kennel sickness or something. Thankfully there was no permanent damage.
I was happy to see how the emergency was handled. While they were emptying Liberty Kennel there were also other trainers ready to evacuate the other 2 kennels in the building. My kennel was already out so that was not a problem.
It turned out that when I sent Bobby to the guardshack to notify the guard that just as he walked into the shack the smoke alarm had gone off. Just as the guard turned to look at the source of the alarm, Bobby was telling him where the fire was.
A potentially catastrophic event had been averted. When Bobby McD swooped into the compound. (Liberty Kennel Trainer) He was out of his mind with worry. He had left rice cooking on the hotplate while he went to breakfast. This was normal procedure in most kennels because it usually took hours for the rice to even come to a boil because of the mass quantities needed to mix in the food everyday. Apparently the pot had fallen off the hotplate and caused it to slide off the counter onto the feed.
Bobby NEVER left a hotplate unattended again.