Ten dogs killed in horror blaze at kennels near A10 in Littleport
- Credit: Chelsea Rowell
Ten dogs have died and one of their owners has been left with burns after a horror “flame tornado” blaze at an east Cambridgeshire kennel.
The devastating fire swept through Black Horse Farm Kennels off the A10 in Littleport at around 2pm on Friday (February 18) during the brunt of Storm Eunice, killing six dogs and four puppies.
Chelsea Rowell, kennel owner, says she is “emotionally and mentally exhausted” after the incident which left her “hero” husband in hospital with burns to his face and feet.
Reliving the horror, she said: “I was out checking the kennels one hour prior to the incident, I then entered the house checked my CCTV and all dogs were happy and settled after their afternoon meal and games of ball with me.”
A passing motorist on the A10 spotted the blaze and alerted the couple shortly after 2pm.
“As soon as we could, we rushed outside to the dogs. My husband Luke was bare foot and, wearing dressing gown over his head, he rushed through the fire to save the dogs.
“He was a hero and saved three, the fire brigade was attending to the fire and without my knowledge found one more dog and carried it to me.”
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The cause of the fire is unknown; it quickly spread across the garden and onto Mr and Mrs Rowell’s fence leading to the oil tanker.
“The oil tanker ended up exploding, the site was unbearable and the fire just progressed so quickly there wasn't much we, or anyone, could do.
“The weather was appalling and the high winds just fuelled the fire, it was like flame tornado.
“My husband entered the fire three times, causing himself smoke inhalation and very minor burns to his face and feet.
“He also suffered a bad wound to his left foot, resulting in struggling to walk and being unable to work.
“This is such a tragedy and we just don't know the right words to express what we are both feeling right now, our dogs weren't just our dogs, they were our babies.”
A Go Fund Me page has since been launched by a family friend who hopes to raise £1,000 to help the couple re-build their kennel.
“Luke and Chelsea have been waking up each morning to see the ash and destruction of that night still in their garden,” said fundraiser organiser Sam Bude.
“Please help us reach our target, so we can help them rebuild the kennels and begin to heal from what they lost.
“They were quick to act and tried to get the dogs out and into the house. Sadly, not everyone made it out alive.
“Luke and a couple of the luckier dogs came out burnt, but ok. Luke was taken to hospital and put on oxygen for smoke inhalation.
“Thanks to Luke's bravery, some of the dogs survived. Excruciatingly, 10 did not.
“Thank you to the fire service who arrived quickly and took the time to bury each of those lost too young. You do us all proud.”
Mr Rowell, who helps his wife Chelsea run the kennel business from the property located less than 10 miles from the city of Ely, is now at home recovering.
Mrs Rowell added: “We are so emotionally and mentally exhausted, they weren't just our dogs they were our babies.
“Luke is not so bad now, but his burns are still sore and uncomfortable with his foot, but he is able to tip toe but occasionally gets very uncomfortable.”
A spokesperson for the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We received a call at 2.15pm to a report of a building fire on Lynn Road, Littleport.
"Three crews from Ely, Soham and Wisbech attended and the building was well alight on their arrival.
"Firefighters used two hose reels to extinguish the fire and were at the scene for just over two hours. The cause was accidental."
To donate to the Go Fund Me, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-rebuild-dog-kennels