Animal Disaster Team Helps with Pets from Huge Condos Fire

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By Karen Harrison Binette

Arlo at Rose Valley Veterinary Clinic


Cats Arlo and Luna were missing and unaccounted for following a huge and damaging fire that drove residents from their Kewlona, BC condo complex last week. Arlo was found in his unit on Thursday, and Luna was rescued after being spotted in the window of her unit today. A special animal disaster team has helped residents with their pets.

The all volunteer CDART (Canadian Disaster Animal Relief Team) Okanagan branch has taken cats rescued by fire crews to the vet and then reunited them with their owners, evacuated a cat and returned it to its owner, is fostering 4 cats displaced by the fire, saved some fish, lent out crates and other supplies to evacuees, and provided temporary care to cats and dogs while their families were unsettled following the condo complex’ evacuation.

CDART also took an active role in the search for Arlo and Luna, even though access to the building was limited due to extensive damage.

The July 16 fire at the Legacy 2 condo complex in the Rutland section of Kewlona was started by a barbecue cooker on a second floor balcony. Residents reported hearing an explosion just before the fire. The fourth floor was gutted and several other units sustained serious water and smoke damage. The building’s roof is entirely gone.

Arlo’s owner took off work on a hunch on Thursday and got help from fire inspectors, who found the cat in his unit’s laundry area.

“He was behind the washer and dryer through the whole fire,” said Arlo’s owner in a feature at

“I was at work and had the funny feeling I had to take the afternoon off to find my other cat. One of the inspectors from the fire department was there and I asked if they wanted to do another sweep. And, they found him.”

“I can’t believe it,” he said, choking up. “I took him to Rose Valley Veterinary Clinic and they are going to take care of the vet bills.”

Dr. Oz from Rose Valley Veterinary Clinic has been very helpful with the animal victims of the fire. He said Arlo was full of smoke but his x-rays indicate he should be ok. In addition to the x-rays, Arlo got IV fluids and a grooming.


Luna with a CDART volunteer


CDART has been actively involved, driving the search for the second missing cat, Luna.  Unable to have free access to the building, CDART was fortunate to have the active cooperation of the disaster cleanup company already at work on the burned out condos. The animal team was granted admission today in order to rescue the cat.

CDART tells the story of Luna’s recovery that took place today:

“Excellent cooperation between Stutters Disaster Kleenup, CDART (Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team) and the Commissionaires led to a very happy ending today for Luna the cat, the one remaining unaccounted for pet from the fire at Legacy condos in Rutland on July 16th.

“CDART was tipped off that someone saw Luna in the window of her apartment this morning, and then CDART with Luna’s owner were able to negotiate a short window of access to the apartment. A CDART volunteer, escorted by one of the Commissionaires, entered the apartment to search for Luna in one of her known hiding places suggested by her owner.

“With a bag of Luna’s favourite treats, Joy from CDART was able to entice Luna out from under a bed where she’d been hiding in the bed frame. Joy quickly got her safely into a crate, and out of the building. Luna appears to be doing well, especially since it has been six days since the fire occurred.

“CDART arranged with Rose Valley Vet Hospital to give Luna a checkup, has reunited Luna with her owner, and Luna and her owner are on their way to the vet right now.

“CDART would like to give tremendous thanks to Keith Stutters, who was key in arranging CDART’s access to the building, and thank the Commissionaires for their support, as well as thank Dr. Oz of Rose Valley Vet Hospital. ”

CDART says Stutters employees searched for Luna and put out food for her every day.


A Global news report on the recovery of Arlo features the work of CDART and their efforts at the Legacy 2 fire, and elsewhere.


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