Kimbrough Animal Hospital loses all in fire, including pets

AAHA-accredited practice Kimbrough Animal Hospital, in Longview, Texas was engulfed in flames Tuesday night, reported the Longview News-Journal. Of the 40 pets boarded there, only two survived. There were no human injuries.

Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said the call came in about 10:25 p.m. Tuesday. The fire was under control by 11:28, and out by 1:08 p.m. Zachary believed the cause of the fire was electrical.

Kenneth Kimbrough, DVM, and his staff worked alongside firefighters throughout the night Tuesday to pull animals from the burning building. Of the eight pulled from the building, only two dogs survived.

The fire crew pulled out when the building began to collapse.

Kimbrough drove the two surviving pets to a 24-hour animal emergency room, reported Everything Lubbock. (As of Wednesday, they were stable.) Injuries and deaths, Kimbrough told the Longview News-Journal, and wanted pet owners to know, were a result of smoke inhalation.

Tuesday night, the deceased animals were taken to Gindy’s Pet Expression, co-owned by Gindy Kimbrough, Kimbrough’s wife, for identification. A candlelight vigil for families who lost their pets will be held at Gindy’s on June 15 at 8 p.m. CST.

Kimbrough Animal Hospital boards and grooms animals, and offers emergency care. Most of the fatalities were dogs and cats. (The last employee had left the building at 8 p.m.)

“The Lord was with us that it was mid-week,” Kimbrough told the Longview News-Journal, “because our busiest boarding times are on the weekends.”

According to the Longview News-Journal, the property is worth $168,000 not including contents. Contents lost included all veterinary records.

Insurer David Powell, who was working up an estimate on the loss, expects it to be a total loss. “It was fully engulfed,” he told the Longview News-Journal.

Kimbrough, who has been practicing in Longview since 1976, is determined to rebuild.

“Right now, we're trying to order medicine and set up a makeshift clinic," Kimbrough told the Longview News-Journal. "By the end of the week, I will have a place for clients to bring their animals. We will rebuild, and I will continue to practice. I love what I do.”

Longview is a small town, relatively speaking, with a population of 82,000 and a big heart.

“We have had an outpouring from the community," Gindy Kimbrough told the Longview Times-Call. "Clients, non-clients have been coming by. They've been bringing us food. They wrapped their arms around us."

Other vets in town, too, have been generous, according to Kimbrough. “They have all called and offered their facilities if I need them so I can still take care of my clients," he told the Longview Times-Call. "The vet community has been fantastic.”

If you want to help

Glaze Veterinary Clinic has set up an account so Kimbrough can continue to pay his employees, among other costs. To-date, it has reached $21,411 of its $25,000 goal.

Jolene Hayes Ray, one of Kimbrough’s clients, has set up a second account. To-date, it has reached $2,170 of its $10,000 goal.

If you want to volunteer, call 903-757-5543.

For updates, visit Kimbrough Animal Hospital’s Facebook page.