Help pours in for Safe Harbor Animal Rescue

The shelter is asking for blankets, towels, animal food and any cash donations to help out with this disaster. If you would like to help, you can call: 747-5311.
You can send monetary donations to:
P.O. Box 1843
Jupiter FL, 33468

Reporter: Alex Zequeira

Update, Mon 10 AM: If you drove around Jupiter this weekend, you probably saw kids holding lemonade stands and people with buckets at intersections. They were all trying to raise money for a local animal sanctuary damaged by a fire on Friday.

Since then, the community in Jupiter has really stepped up to show just how tight knit the people really are.

Just three days ago, an early morning fire ripped through the shelter killing 14 cats and damaging a good portion of the building. But, soon after the flames were put out, volunteers from all throughout Jupiter and the rest of Palm Beach County came to the aide of Safe Harbor Animal Rescue donating food, blankets, towels and - more importantly - money.

The shelter operates on donations only, and just hours after Friday's fires, the shelter was able to collect about $100,000 in donations to help bring back what once was.

Volunteer Emmanuel Hernandez says, "They had the companies come yesterday [Sunday] and unload. They've had people coming in and handing out donations left and right. I know the last count was just over $100,000, so every little bit does help and count. And, hopefully, we'll be able to rebuild stronger and better than before."

Even though volunteers have been working hard to raise more money, the shelter is still in a dire financial situation. Right now, it stands to lose $20,000 to $30,000 each week as workers try to rebuild what last week's fire damaged.

Volunteers with Safe Harbor will be at Roger Dean Stadium for the spring training game between the Cardinals and the Braves. They'll be going through the stands and collecting donations. And they need as many volunteers as possible. If you're interested in helping out, the game starts Monday at 1 p.m.

Update, Fri 11:50 AM: Fire threatens the lives of dozens of animals at the Safe Harbor Animal Shelter in Jupiter. Some were rescued, but others weren't so lucky.

Fourteen cats died in the blaze.

When the shelter's director, Kay-Lynette Roca, heard the news, grief overwhelmed her. "Everything that means so much to you and passionate about goes up in blazes."

When police arrived on the scene, they sprang into action using their batons to break the windows and let the smoke out.

Then, when fire rescue got there, they formed a chain to rescue the pets inside one-by-one.

Sgt. Scott Pascarella, Jupiter Police Dept., says, "It's a courageous effort on our part, from our officers to enter a burning building. We're not, like you said, trained to enter burning buildings."

Training or no training, they risked their lives helping fire fighters save 38 cats and dogs. One officer even got sick from all the thick smoke he breathed in.

The cause of the fire is a mystery. There was no one inside the shelter when the fire alarm went off - only the cats and dogs that stay there overnight.

And, right now, investigators have one lead to follow.

Don Delucia, Palm Beach Co. Fire Rescue, says, "We understand that there was some electrical work being done and the fire investigator is going to zero in on that to see if that was the cause. But, when you have this much damage, it really takes a lot of work and a lot of expertise to figure out what happened."

The event is tragic by all accounts. But Roca is thankful for the rescue efforts that helped save dozens of animals and keep the shelter from completely burning down. "Thank God the alarm went off and someone was there.  I mean, I can't thank the Jupiter Police and Fire Department enough."

The damage caused by the fire was contained to the front of the building, and fire investigators say if sufficient funds are collected, the shelter could be remodeled and up and running in the very near future.

Previously: An overnight fire at a no kill animal shelter, Safe Harbor Animal Rescue in Jupiter on Indiantown Rd., kills 14 cats.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and Jupiter Police were able to save 38 caged animals from the blaze, but they were not able to get every single animal out alive.

It happened just before 3:30 AM Friday. Firefighter arrived to find black smoke and looked in the window to see many animals trapped.

The dogs and cats that were rescued had to be treated with oxygen for smoke inhalation; some of them went to the Northlake Animal Emergency Center.

The shelter was started 22 years ago to save abused and neglected animals.

The director of the shelter, Kay-Lynette Roca, is devastated and is looking for a place to put all of these displaced animals.

The shelter is asking for blankets, animal food and any cash donations to help out with this disaster. If you would like to help, you can call: 747-5311.

You can send monetary donations to:
P.O. Box 1843
Jupiter FL, 33468