ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – The owners of a kennel in Robinson Township were taken to the hospital after rescuing several animals from a fire Wednesday morning.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out at the Merlyn Kennels in the 4200-block of Steubenville Pike just before 5 a.m.

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The couple who owns the kennel weren’t thinking of their own safety this morning. They knew they had animals in the room where the fire was starting, and they had to get them out.

We woke up to a strange electric smell,” said Rusty Cromer. “He could hardly see to get downstairs. I went downstairs, grabbed the three animals that were in the boarding room, our cat and the puppies.”

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson Reports:

“That’s in their nature and exactly what they would have done. That was what was expected of them really,” Matthew Cromer said.

Cromer got a call from his father around 5 a.m. about the home, where they also operate the kennel, being on fire.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson Reports:

Both Rusty and Earl Cromer were being treated for smoke inhalation after rushing into the smoke filled basement to pull the animals to safety.

“The two people who live here tried to get all the animals out, which they did. They got all the animals out to the outside, but in the meantime, they took in some smoke,” Moon Run Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Paul Kashmer said.

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“Everybody made it out okay, all the animals are safe and after the business gets cleaned up, they’ll be business as usual,” Cromer said.

It is believe the furnace in the basement started to smoke. The fire then reached the living room above and even after it was out, crews were called back twice for possible rekindling.

“It’s an oil furnace,” said Chief Kashmer. “A lot of times they call it a white ghost. It probably didn’t come on right away and it gets a mini-explosion inside.”

The couple has run the business for 50 years, breeding and raising shelties and also boarding and grooming small animals. A business loved by many in the community, friends and customers stopped by to offer help.

“It’s just stuff. It’s just unimportant. Contents lost, so what? No life loss, no animal loss. It’s okay,” Cromer said.

KDKA’s Heather Abraham Reports:

“Certainly, I’ll go back into business, takes more than that to keep us down,” added Rusty. “This is what we love to do. I’ve been doing it too long.”

While it did not appear that any of the animals were injured, a vet will be checking over each and every one of them.


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