Hundreds of animals perish in fire in Cecil County

He is sealing up one of the same doors he recently opened for business when John Belew, Jr. opened Sun Pets on Queen Street in Rising Sun.
 
Now fire has gutted the building and killed most of the animals inside.
 
Belew's father, John, Sr., owns the building.
 
"I was getting ready for church and I just had to put my shoes on and then one of the tenants called you and then he called me and I said, 'I'm out the door,'" said Belew, Sr., "and then we were here within five minutes of the time they detected there was smoke coming out of the building."
 
Neighbors saved half a dozen animals as smoke and flames consumed the building which housed hundreds of reptiles, birds and fish, as well as puppies and kittens.
 
But in the few short minutes it took for the owner to get there, the intense heat made any further efforts to get inside the building impossible.
 
"A lot of pets.  I'm not going to go into detail.  We lost everything in the store pretty much," said Belew, Jr., "A couple of rescues, but pretty much everything is gone, but a lot of my customers had put layaway and deposits down for Christmas pets that we were holding, and I know their grieving."
 
Smoke and structural damage also have shut down other businesses housed inside the building as well as forcing six people from their second floor apartments.
 
But the prospect of starting over for John Belew, Jr., just six weeks after opening his business, is difficult at best.
 
"We will be back," he said. "If my customers hang in there with me, we'll be back."
 
It's estimated the fire caused $750,000 worth of damage and at this point, it appears it started in the wiring or electrical system.
 
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