Hillsborough Warehouse Fire Kills Dozens Of Animals

A Warehouse Fire Kills Dozens Of Animals That Were Inside

Thursday afternoon a massive fire broke out and destroyed a 14,000 square foot warehouse in Hillsborough County.

Renuit Supply, a discount warehouse full of cleaning supplies, paper and plastice products and machine rentals, is located in the 5800 block of Barry Road off the Veterans Expressway. The warehouse is a complete loss.

It took nearly 60 firefighters to battle the flames as plumes of black smoke filled the air and could be seen for miles.

Corey Dierdorff of Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue said the building was made of all metal, which made the firefighters jobs that much harder.

“That metal keeps the heat trapped inside which is very difficult for firefighters to actually put that fire out,” he told WFLA.

The owner, Peter Desouza, told WFLA that there were more than two dozen animals inside the warehouse at the time. Dogs, cats, birds, and even a monkey named Ringo were among those lost in the fire. He said they were part of an animal rescue he runs, called Tipped Cat, out of the warehouse.

Photo: ABC Action News
Photo: ABC Action News

“But I did have some animals here to give them personal care,” Desouza said.  “They had access to fresh air and outside.  We saw them every day and everything was great.”

A neighbor in the area said she thought a dog may have made it out and HCFR said some cats made their way out as well. Unfortunately, majority of the animals weren’t as lucky.

“When you’re an animal lover, you get used to death and sickness,” he told News Channel 8.  “You accept bad things and deal with it and get up and help other animals.”

Desouze didn’t have any insurance and believes it will take three months to go through and salvage anything inside. After that time period he hopes to rebuild and then sell the warehouse.

The HCFR is investigating this fire and also investigating whether it was legal to keep animals inside the warehouse.

One firefighter was hospitalized from this fire due to heat exhaustion.