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Famed racing greyhounds killed in kennel fire

A fire Friday night in a renowned New England dog kennel killed 87 prized racing greyhounds, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out shortly after 9:30 p.m. in the Fortune Kennel, sending smoke and flames through the one-story wooden building and trapping the animals inside.

"It was pathetic. The dogs were screaming and hollering. They couldn't get out of their cages," Lynn District Fire Chief Richard Biagiotti said.

When the fire started, a kennel worker tried to open the locked door to free the animals but was thrown back by the force of the flames.

"Many of the dogs either died from burns _ they were charred beyond recognition _ or smoke inhalation," Biagiotti said.

The kennel housed 92 greyhounds. The five surviving animals were racing at the nearby Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere.

Biagiotti said the first fire engine was forced to respond from 2{ miles away from the kennel because budget cuts forced the closing of a nearby fire station.

One of the dogs killed was valued at more than $100,000; the other animals ranged in value from between $50,000 and $75,000, a kennel official said. The dogs were owned by the kennel.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Fire official Edward Higgins said dogs were kept in cages inside the building.

"I can't describe the building in any other way, except a fire trap. All through the building there was shredded paper, like the kind you might find as packing in a crate, which they used for the dogs to lie on.

"When we arrived, we could hear some of the dogs barking inside the building, but the fire was really going good and they died very quickly after that."