Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:21 UK

Guinea pigs killed in Devon shed fire

Pet breeding centre fire
The fire is thought to have spread from a small shed

About 350 guinea pigs are believed to have been killed in a fire at a pet breeding centre in Devon.

Police and firefighters from Devon and Cornwall were called to the site at Little Cholwell, Dippertown, near Okehampton, at about 0030 BST.

Four sheds in a 66ft by 66ft (20m by 20m) area used to house small mammals were completely destroyed.

An investigation by the police and fire service indicated the fire had been caused by an electrical fault.

Some animals saved

It was initially thought about 1,000 small animals had died at the farm which breeds guinea pigs, rabbits and rats.

However, members of the family, which owns the farm, managed to save some before being beaten back by fire and smoke.

Family friend Adam Spry said they believed they knew where the fire started.

He said: "We think the fire started in a small shed which had some domestic freezers in it.

"It spread to another shed, which had no livestock, but that burnt so strongly that it spread the shed next door to that, where there were about 350 guinea pigs."

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Exeter Express and Echo Pet farm blaze kills 1,000 animals - 3 hrs ago
Huddersfield Daily Examiner National News: 1,000 pets killed in fire horror - 13 hrs ago
Loughborough Echo 1,000 pets killed in fire horror - 21 hrs ago
Berwickshire News 1,000 pets killed in breeding centre blaze - 21 hrs ago
Scottish Sun 1,000 pets killed in blaze - 22 hrs ago

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