AZ Family reported that the dogs who perished belonged to a home-based dog breeder known as Skidmore's Papillons. Initial reports stated that as many as 20 dogs had lost their life in the blaze - after fire officials spoke to owner, Valerie Skidmore, they discovered that some of the dogs on the property were kept inside of the home, not the barn structure.
Upwards of 70 firefighters battled the blaze near 120th Street and Mountain View Road for over two hours before the flames were brought under control. Division Chief Jay Ducote stated that there were no signs of neglect at the property - he said:
She took care of them and I know she wanted them in good shape (to) sell,
It is unclear at this time if the five dogs known to have perished were the only victims - officials are still searching for the bodies of more dogs who are unaccounted for.
Fire investigators have not yet determined how the deadly blaze started.
Valerie Skidmore expressed her sadness over the loss of life, telling AZ Family:
"I love every single dog I've worked with for the past 26 years. I would have rather had them in the homes than had them die miserably…but as someone told me they are now in heaven with my husband who died 2 months ago so we are looking forward to a happy reunion someday.
If you would like to continue receiving the latest dog-related news, tips and advice, please click the word "Subscribe," near the top of the article.