PAXTON (CBS) – Several dogs and cats were killed in a fire at an animal shelter in Paxton late Sunday night.

Flames broke out at the Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals on Pleasant Street just before 11 p.m.

The Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals on Pleasant Street in Paxton. (WBZ-TV)

The Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals on Pleasant Street in Paxton. (WBZ-TV)

There were 12 dogs and 30 cats inside at the time, according to Fire Chief Jay Conte.

Of those, only five of the dogs were saved.

“We were very fortunate to save just those,” Conte said. “The site was fully involved when we got here, so we didn’t think we were going to save any of the animals.”

One of the survivors of the shelter fire. (WBZ-TV)

One of the survivors of the shelter fire. (WBZ-TV)

Three of the cats that were killed belonged to a homeless veteran.

There’s no word yet on how the fire started.

The building is a total loss, according to Conte.

“The building can be replaced, but these animals can’t be,” shelter manager Melanie Kenadek told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.  “They’re shelter pets, but they’re our family.  All my volunteers feel the same way.  It’s just, they’re our babies.”

If you’d like to help the shelter, please visit their website or Facebook page.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up.

A vigil will be held Monday night at the shelter to remember the animals.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

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