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Goochland farmhouse fire forces animal rescuer into kennel

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GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Multiple fire crews were dispatched to a blaze at farm in rural Goochland County Tuesday afternoon.

As Annette Thompson lifts a small dog in to her truck she explained its history.

"She was one of my first rescues and no one ever wanted her," said Thompson.

Thompson is cleaning up what she can of her quiet Goochland farm. It has been a rural home to thousands of animals in need of rescue. Her heartfelt hobby has spanned decades and was her second call to service.

"They need help and I kind of feel like when I was a police officer, I helped people. Now that I'm not a police officer, I'm helping animals," Thompson said.

goochlandfarmProviding so many homes will be harder for the retired Richmond police officer as she is now without hers. It went up in flames late this afternoon.

Firefighters say it's a total loss after hot coals from Thompson's wood stove were placed in a bucket outside her home. The wind did the rest.

"Because of the close proximity of the bucket to the home unfortunately the home caught fire,” said Goochland Fire Chief Bill Mackay.

Thompson and fire fighters worked quickly to carry several animals to safety, only one cat is unaccounted for. She says the animals meant everything and that her house had been a long term retirement project.

"I just finally got it finished about two years ago, lost a lot of antique furniture, family things,” she said.

Most of her nearly seventy animals sleep in a kennel house just down the dirt road from her home. Though she has offers to stay with neighbors and friends Thompson's compassion continues. She's choosing to stay under the same roof as her animals tonight.

"They know something terrible has happened and I’m not going to leave them alone," said Thompson.

Fire officials believe Thompson’s home will be officially condemned on Wednesday. She says all she offers of help should come in the form of dog food.