Questions remain after massive East Nashville fire killed several animals

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Investigators are questioning why residents were living inside a building that caught fire over the weekend, when they can’t find a residential occupancy permit.

It’s one of the many questions as investigators continue to search for a cause in the massive fire at the commercial building on Kirkland Avenue. A man who claims to own the property told News 2 that no one was supposed to be living in the building or has permission to do so. 

The call came in at 10:40 Saturday night. Firefighters rescued one person on the roof of the burning building, but several animals perished. Among them, Kim Cooney’s dog Cheyenne. The dog was staying at a dog training facility within the building. 

Cooney’s dog Cheyenne

Cooney adopted Cheyenne several years ago and was undergoing training at the facility for her anxiety. She told News 2 that the trainer is known to be like the “Dog Whisperer” of Nashville.

“She has turned around some amazing dogs – just amazing stories – so I kind of checked it out and sent Cheyenne who was doing a board and train. She was doing really well. She was supposed to come home in a couple of weeks, and we were looking forward to that you know (we) missed her a lot,” Cooney told News 2. 

Cooney told News 2 that the dog trainer lived upstairs with her bedridden father. She said it’s a miracle they got out safely. However, they did lose everything they owned, including their family pets – dogs, cats, fish and a bird.

“She was able to get out, and he was able to get out. My understanding is a neighbor was able to carry him down the stairs and get him. They tried to save the animals but the fire was fast, lots of smoke, the firemen tried to save the pets and nobody could,” She explained. 

Cooney has taken the trainer and her father in for now and started a gofundme me to help during this heartbreaking situation. 

The Nashville Fire Departments said the exact number of pets lost in the blaze is still under investigation.

Fire Inspectors will be following up with the property owner. Additionally, they will inspect other buildings on site that are owned by the same person.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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