At least 50 dogs are confirmed to have died – and 150 more have been injured – after a suspected arson attack at Manchester Dogs’ Home.
Manchester Dogs' Home staff,volunteers and members of the public, battled flames to rescue dozens of animals from the outbreak.
Police last night arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of deliberately sparking the blaze .
Nearly 30 firefighters battled the fire that engulfed the building in Mossbrook Road, after it broke out at 7.10pm yesterday.
Around a third of the complex is believed to have been gutted, with none of the 200 dogs inside left unharmed. Many of those that survived were suffering from smoke inhalation.
And in unprecedented scenes, hundreds of well-wishers arrived at the scene to drop off blankets and dog food.
Two pals also rushed to help, risking their own lives to rescue 20 dogs after kicking open kennel doors.
Emergency services say the building may be irreparably damaged, although further inspection of the site is required.
The charity – along with police and fire service – was also inundated with calls from devastated animal-lovers offering homes to any surviving dogs.
Devastated local people described their anguish at hearing ‘dogs yelping’ and described how staff fought to save them.
Our sister paper The Manchester Evening News has launched a JustGiving page to help the dogs' home and rescued animals, which has already topped £170,000, read how you can help, here .
The home was established in 1893 and has provided shelter for more than 1m dogs who have been abandoned.
Resident John Heslop said: “They got some of the dogs out and chained them up outside.
“There were about six fire engines at the scene.”
Fire bosses said the blaze was brought under control within an hour, but not before claiming the lives of dozens of dogs.
Speaking at the scene last night, Station Manager Paul Duggan, from GM Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Around a third of the building was severely damaged and unfortunately that was the section of the building where all the kennels were housed.
“There was a partial collapse of the roof, but we were able to get 150 dogs to safety from the site.
“An investigation has been launched and we will be working with police in the coming days to examine CCTV and try and establish how and where the fire started.”
Supt Marcus Noden, from GMP, acknowledged the strength of feeling over the suspicious blaze but urged animal lovers to remain calm.
He said: “We are in the very early stages of the investigation and have a young boy in custody, however we would ask if anyone was in the area and remembers seeing anything suspicious around the dogs’ home that they call police.
“As a dog owner myself, I understand many people will feel angry and upset, but I would ask that they let the police carry out their investigations and not take matters into their own hands.
"We have received an overwhelming response from the public and would ask if anyone wants to make donations of food or bedding, they can at North Manchester headquarters on Northampton Road in Newton Heath.”
Our colleagues at the Manchester Evening News are providing live updates on the incident, which you can read here .