The community is offering a helping hand to a Munster, Ind., humane society that caught fire Tuesday night.
About 300 dogs, cats and other animals were evacuated from the Humane Society Calumet Area when the fire broke out around 10:45 p.m.
Shelter manager Danny Martinez said he noticed a strong smell around 7:30 p.m. and knew something was wrong.
"Plastic burning or something, an odd smell, and it was in our laundry room," Martinez said. "They thought it was another area, a dryer that we had."
When he saw the blaze, "our heart dropped," he said.
Thankfully the door to the laundry room was closed and the fire was contained. Martinez said it could have been a lot worse.
Though the animals were terrified, they all made it out OK, and firefighters doused the blaze quickly.
"We moved a lot of our animals with upper respiratory [issues], all those animals that can't stand the smoke. We moved them in cages and carriers outside and to other parts of the building that weren't affected by the fire."
The shelter still needs help, though. Many of the items stored in the room were burned in the fire, and the location is in dire need of towels, blankets, dog and cat beds, and cat litter pans.
"I brought 14 blankets, 26 towels, a bunch of wash cloths, whatever I could get in the house," said Doris Mazurski, who headed to the building when she heard about the fire.
"I had extra towels and blankets at home, so I was glad to bring them by and help out here," another Good Samaritan, Carol Bliznik, said.
If you can help, you can drop off the items at the Humane Society. In the meantime, the cleanup process has begun.
"We're going to air out the building," Martinez said, "clean up, try to get everything under control, get our animals cleaned, start with necessities. Then move into the building. Step by step try to rebuild."