Fire hits Animal Friends League of Kuwait

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:


WAFRA, Kuwait–Electrical fires on March 12 and March 24,
2010 razed most of the Animal Friends League of Kuwait shelter
complex. The facilities, featured in a presentation on shelter
design at the first Middle East Network for Animal Welfare conference
in 2007, were widely praised as the best in the Middle East.
The first fire destroyed the residential quarters and all
personal possessions of four live-in staff members. The second fire
killed eight dogs and 31 cats, and badly injured others, some of
whom died later.

“Investigations have shown that the fires were caused by
surges of electricity from the main lines,” e-mailed founder Ayeshah
Waleed Al Humaidhi. “After the first fire, an inspection of the
shelter elecrical system was conducted and smoke detectors and fire
extinguishers were purchased and donated.
“Despite these precautions,” Al Humaidhi said, “a massive
surge occurred to the now weakened main electrical lines. All staff
were sleeping nearby when the fire started. The fire was not
discovered until aerosol cans near the source of the fire began to
explode. Our shelter staff acted heroically to save as many animals
as possible, and the fire rescue team also showed great courage as
they entered the building to release dogs while the fire was still
burning,” The Kuwait Royal Animal Hospital
hosted fostering sessions that found temporary quarters for at least
47 of the 62 dogs, cats, and rabbits who survived the fires without
serious injury. The Washington Animal Rescue League took 20 dogs
for U.S. adoption. Ten volunteers from a local agility club spent a
week helping with the animals.
“Men have turned up with a tool box and shovel asking how
they can help,” Al Humaidhi said. “The show of support has brought
tears to our eyes at times.”
But the biggest need ahead will be resources for rebuilding.
“We have been able to save many of the interior doors and fittings,”
Al Humaidhi reported. “Volunteers have demolished the ceiling,
removed all doors and windows, including frames, and have removed,
washed and stored most loose items” that could be salvaged.
“Repairs of the steel structure of the building have already
started,” Al Humaidhi added, 10 days after the second fire.

[Contact: Animal Friends League of Kuwait, 333 Goose Pond
Road, Lyme, NH 03768; <>;
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