on Thursday, April 2, 2020
Unfortunately in a time of global crisis, families in the Des Moines metro experienced another crisis today as fires ravaged their homes in two apartment complexes.
Because so many of the apartments’ residents had pets as part of their families, the ARL’s Emergency Response Team was called by Polk County Emergency Management in the middle of the night to help.
At the first fire, in Pleasant Hill, our team assisted first responders by taking pets as they were evacuated from the building and keeping them safe until they could be reunited with their owners amid the chaos. Sadly, the fire claimed the life of one dog that belonged to an elderly couple. The ARL is doing a private cremation for the family at no cost. Thankfully we were also able to reunite them with their cat.
Our team also assisted victims of the second fire, which completely demolished an apartment building on Des Moines’ south side. No people were injured, but some pets did not make it out. Many families in the building lost all their possessions in the blaze. Our team provided multiple pet owners with bags of pet food, bowls, litterboxes, beds, leashes, collars and other needed items. We also assisted with veterinary care for two dogs. One cat that escaped during the blaze was later rescued by an ARL Animal Services officer and reunited with her family.
Our Emergency Response Team is on call to respond to crisis situations like these 24/7, and in times like this it is even more important to help keep families and pets together. We are continuing to work with Polk County Emergency Management to ensure these families have everything they need during this time of transition. And we mourn for the families whose pets were unable to be saved.
Learn more about how the ARL responds to pets in emergencies at our Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response page.