RAYTOWN, Mo. — A Raytown pet shelter is cleaning up and asking for help after part of their building caught fire.

The on-site apartment above The Pet Connection saw most of the damage. A manager who lives nearby rushed over to make sure the animals were safe. The shelter houses 15 dogs.

“Everybody’s been through a lot today,” trainer Colton Rivers said.

At about midnight Wednesday, the back end of their building went up in flames. 

Upstairs is an apartment where two people live, according to manager Brian Martveli. He said the tenants made it out OK, but they won’t have a place to stay for a while. 

“It was initially scary. Everybody is alright,” Martveli said.

When he got to the scene, first responders told Martveli there wasn’t a lot of smoke where the dogs were, and firefighters managed to pump in a lot of fresh air. 

Employees said the downstairs, where The Pet Connection is located, has now been deemed safe for the dogs. 

“In the room that was heavily affected the most, there are about 10 dogs,” Martveli said. “They’re still currently in that room because we were able to use some extension cords to get heaters and things to them.”

One dog was taken to the vet to be checked for smoke inhalation but is expected to be OK. Martveli said the rest are wagging tails. 

“We serve primarily behavioral dogs,” Rivers said, “so dogs that would be euthanized if they were at other shelters.”

On the other side of the now-damaged downstairs wall is their training room where Rivers holds classes. 

After the fire, this nonprofit is in need of a new wall, ceiling and doors. 

“Our training room got flooded,” Rivers said. “That’s where we bring dogs in from the community to give them one on one lessons or puppy training classes and we’ve lost all of that revenue.

“And we can’t bring in any new dogs to our boarding facility right now because of the fire, so we’re losing revenue there, as well.”

The owner of the building said they believe the fire started outside. At this point it’s unclear how the fire started. The fire department is still investigating. 

“We’re kind of going to be suffering, income wise, to pay our staff appropriately,” Martveli said. “So we’re really looking for that assistance, now more than ever.”

If you would like to adopt one of these dogs or support The Pet Connection, you can visit their website.