Doghouse of Barrington owner Dylan Nelson said he's incredibly thankful and fortunate that none of the 30 dogs staying overnight at the facility was hurt after a car fire in the adjacent alley spread to the building early Saturday.
Aside from some blown out windows and ruined bags of dog food, damage was so minimal that it's business as usual at the facility, located at 340 S. Lageschulte St.
"Everyone is comfortable and safe," Nelson said. "We're able to stay open today."
The fire started about 1:45 a.m. in a parked vehicle that's used to transport Doghouse's canine guests. At the time, staff member Kevin Koreman was with about 15 dogs sleeping on a giant air mattress as part of the kennel's group sleepover service.
"He didn't panic and put our fire plan right into effect, escorting the dogs to the other side of the building," Nelson said. "We were all booked up for the holiday weekend and the Suburban had a full tank of gas, so this could have been a lot worse."
Barrington fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze and determined the building was free of carbon monoxide, Barrington Assistant Fire Chief Christian Toussaint said.
Investigators told Nelson that something in the car could have sparked and the dog hair served as kindling. Nelson said he wonders if it might have something to do with something he heard from a neighbor _ that people were setting off fireworks in the area just minutes before the fire.
Toussaint said the investigation is ongoing.
The Cary, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Fox River Grove, Long Grove, Lake Zurich, Palatine, Palatine Rural and Wheeling Fire Departments assisted.