Fire that Destroyed Alabama Animal Shelter Ruled Arson

February 1, 2008

Alabama fire marshals have determined that arson was to blame for a November fire that destroyed an unlicensed animal shelter in Rainsville, Ala., whose operator said more than 50 animals died as a result of the blaze.

“We are now investigating an arson,” State Fire Marshal Edward Paulk said Tuesday. “In this case, like other suspicious fires, there are many different factors to consider.”

Paulk told the Fort Payne Times-Journal that state fire marshals investigate when there is suspicion of a criminal act or if a fire causes a death. He did not specify what led investigators to believe the animal shelter fire was not an accident.

The Nov. 17 fire destroyed a house on property owned by Carol Crocker, who takes in abandoned animals in what she called the Green Acres Animal Shelter. Crocker said Wednesday that 12 disabled dogs on the house’s porches were killed in the fire, while 10 more had to be euthanized because of injuries received in the fire. She said 38 cats were also killed.

Crocker, a retired flight attendant, said she is now living in a trailer and has 10 cats that survived the fire and nearly 60 dogs in fenced pens on her roughly five-acre property.

Crocker appeared in DeKalb County District Court in September, when Judge David Rains ordered her to find homes for nearly 70 dogs and cats. Crocker said Wednesday she is appealing the order and the animals had not been removed.

“Until the Supreme Court hears my case, my animals aren’t going anywhere,” Crocker said.

Crocker said she has enemies who don’t like the fact that she has so many animals living on her property. She said she believes the fire was intentionally set to drive her out.

Information from: Fort Payne Times-Journal,

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