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Lawsuit filed against Ponderosa Pet Resort owner over death of 75 dogs in fire

Seventy-five dogs died in a fire at the resort in Georgetown on Sept. 18. A lawsuit including two dozen people was filed against the owners.

GEORGETOWN, Texas — A lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in Williamson County shows more details about the Ponderosa Pet Resort fire that left 75 dogs dead on Sept. 18.

“The fire started with sparks coming from an electrical device or outlet located at the north side of the building," the petition shows.

"Building material inside the kennel area may have contributed to an increased spread of smoke from the fire. The facility does not have monitored smoke or heat detection devices or a fire suppression system, such as sprinklers. Federal, state and Georgetown fire codes do not require sprinkler systems for the use and size of the facility," the Georgetown Fire Department stated on its website on Oct. 1.

Filings show the building burned more than 15 minutes before firefighters were called. Most animals died of asphyxiation and some were burned alive, the petition shows.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of 24 people. They claim negligence and deceptive trade. The suit seeks more than $1 million.

"Our main goal in this is to prevent this from happening ever again," said Ard Ardalan, Austin and Round Rock personal injury lawyer. "So what we're trying to do is send the message to all kennel owners in Texas and outside the state that they need to take care of their facilities and make sure that there are adequate fire safety precautions taken before pets are allowed to board there."

Ardalan's firm also released a written statement:

“Today’s lawsuit is meant to protect Texas pets. It’s about safety and accountability. We are still mourning the loss of the dogs at the Ponderosa Pet Resort and hope that this lawsuit will help encourage kennel owners across the U.S. to take fire safety seriously. In the coming months, we hope to get answers as to how the fire started and what could have been done to prevent it. We also seek to hold Mr. Paris and Ponderosa Pet Resort accountable, although that process has only just started. At the Ardalan Law Firm, we hope that our efforts will help prevent these kinds of senseless tragedies in the future.”

We reached out to the defendant, Phillip Paris. Paris would not comment.

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