75 shelter animals relocated after power pole explodes in North Miami Beach

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - About 75 animals were relocated after a power pole exploded outside of the Humane Society of Greater Miami in North Miami Beach.

The power pole began to spark Monday afternoon outside of the shelter on West Dixie Highway, near Northeast 161st Street.

“The lights started flickering, and we looked outside, and the whole pole started shooting. It was like firecrackers, it started exploding,” said the shelter’s Executive Director, Laurie Hoffman.

Staff said sparks flew for about 30 minutes, costing the facility its power. No serious injuries were reported but the animals were moved to an air conditioned building on Tuesday after the shelter’s A/C fried one of the back up generators and temperatures began to rise.

As of Wednesday morning, the facility’s power has been restored. However, there is still no A/C. Therefore, the facility will remain closed until further notice.

“We’re not gonna be open, actually, until further notice. I have no idea when we’re gonna be able to open,” Hoffman said, Wednesday.

On Tuesday, cages lined the hallways, and in some cases, fans were brought in for backup.

“It’s one thing to close your businesses and you can’t sell your goods, but these are animals,” said Hoffman. “We have to protect them. We have to make sure that they stay alive and they stay safe no matter what the disaster is.”

Staff said the shelter has about 100 more animals than usual due to Hurricane Irma.

“Many were abandoned here because of the hurricane, so we have more animals than we normally do,” said Hoffman. “Plus, we have so much to take care of just to get ourselves back on our feet from the hurricane. We really need to open and get people to come in and adopt.”

The facility was supposed to reopen Tuesday for adoption, but the staff said things won’t return to normal until the power is back on. Thankfully, the staff was able to move fast before any of the animals overheated.

“Everybody knew exactly what to do. We moved them quickly, and they’re safe. That’s really what’s most important,” said Hoffman.

The hurricane caused about half a million dollars worth of damage to the building, and the facility hasn’t been able to adopt out animals since the beginning of September.

“Waiting on FPL to tell us when we are going to be able to open, and hopefully soon enough we’ll be able to resume our business because we have so many animals that need homes,” said Hoffman.

However, once FPL comes to repair the pole, there still may be more trouble. “When they have to come back and put in a new cable pole, they’re gonna take our power down again, and I don’t know how long that’s gonna last, so we may have to move the animals enclosed all over again,” Hoffman said.

The shelter does hope that they will be able to start adoptions by the weekend at the earliest.

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