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They are stuck in a cage: Residents discuss pets being displaced by large apartment fire

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 23, 2018

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Residents of Village Inn Apartments are still trying to get back on their feet as investigators continue to look into the cause of the fire at the complex late on July 21.

Many tenants affected by the fire are now staying at a temporary shelter at the Covenant Hope Church, while their pets are in cages outside the facility.

Wendy Ryan managed to escape the fire with her three children and some of her pets, one of which is a cat that's currently being housed outside the church. Another cat remains unaccounted for.

Ryan expressed concern the pets are disoriented. “At first, they are ripped out of their house, and now they are stuck in a cage. They only have so much understanding. Everything they know is gone," she said.

Ryan tells FOX 17 more than 30 animals live at the apartments, and while firefighters were busy trying to rescue both humans and animals, she was told some pets didn't make it out alive.

Ryan's two dogs survived the fire, although there was a scare with her older beagle, Lexi, which was not located right away.

“I didn’t know if she had died or what, but today they found her," said Ryan.

Lexi is now being housed at the Calhoun County Animal Center and is in need of a temporary foster family.

“She is 17, and she is hard of hearing and doesn’t see well, and she’s probably wondering what is going on, and I’ve had her since she was a puppy. It’s just really hard," said Ryan. “If anybody is willing to take on an elderly dog, that would be wonderful. And as soon as we could take her back, we would. She sleeps a lot; she just has somewhere she needs to be loved."

Several people were treated for smoke inhalation following the fire.  Two firefighters were also hurt: one had a forearm injury and another was treated for exhaustion.

Ryan says her cell phone remains in her apartment and her car was destroyed in the fire.

The Red Cross is also assisting residents following the fire.