BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The fire broke out around 1:00 a.m. Thursday at Dr. B.R. Cato's office located on Highway 61 North just outside of Blytheville.
Within two hours the office that had helped thousands of animals over the years was completely destroyed.
Office Manager Pat Fletcher said, "I know how I would have felt if it had been my animals in there. I felt like these were my animals. It's a sad day, just a sad day."
The lives of nearly 40 animals were claimed as a result of the blaze which ripped furiously through the building that's more than 50 years old.
"The flames were just everywhere. It was already gone when we got here," said Fletcher.
She and Paula Edwards are both employees and have ben with Dr. Crato for years. They say they felt absolutely helpless.
"Knowing they were there and we couldn't go in and help. You're helpless. You're hands are tied. That was probably one of the hardest things," said Edwards.
Now the office looks like the inside of a fireplace, simply piles of charcoal. For employees, the hard part is notifying the owners of the animals.
"People that have lost their pets, that was their kids. That's how we felt about them here," said Edwards.
Now for Pat, Paula, and Dr. Cato the devastation hasn't just claimed their place of work, but a huge part of their lives.
"It's kind of like looking at home," cried Fletcher.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cato spent the day in Missouri gathering medical supplies.
It is his intentions to reopen the clinic in a house next door until the other facility can be rebuilt.
We are told the clinic's phone number is working again, and they hope to be able to serve the community by Friday morning.
The Blytheville Fire Department still hasn't ruled a cause for the blaze which took more than two hours to get under control.