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Officials: Animal hospital latest target in series of Logan County, WV arsons

An animal hospital that has been in business for 22 years is now forced to start over.

Investigators say it's the latest case of arson in Logan County.

"We were of course in bed asleep and they just kind of jumped up on alert status and started barking," Eric O'Briant, a neighbor, said.

O'Briant's dogs knew something wasn't right in their neighborhood. Minutes later, he saw the smoke.

"This hospital serves a lot of people, so there's gonna be a void there," O'Briant said.

Knowles Animal Hospital caught fire about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

"We heard that the fire was coming out of the windows on both floors," Dr. Charles Knowles, the owner said.

Knowles was out of state when he got the call that his business was on fire. He later learned it was mainly the upstairs that was damaged. Fortunately, the animals were downstairs.

"I'm grateful the animals are fine, and I'll be grateful when they find whatever happened," Knowles said.

State fire officials say it's the latest in a string of arsons in Logan County that firefighters have been dealing with for several months.

"Their training really paid off," O'Briant said. "They saved the house next door and got all the animals out safely."

However, that doesn't change the fact that whoever is responsible hasn't been caught.

"Even an arsonist; you wouldn't think they'd set fire to something that had people or animals in it," Knowles said.

"If there's any information we need to know it. We can't solve these fires without the public helping," West Virginia Fire Marshal Jason Baltic said.

Anyone with information about this fire or any other arson is asked to call the state arson hot-line at 1-800-233-FIRE (3473).

Five of the animals rescued are now homeless, and are temporarily staying with employees of the animal hospital.

If you're interested in adopting one of the 3 cats or 2 dogs, you can contact Dr. Knowles at (304) 235-3500.


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