A Brisbane clinic that vets hundreds of thousands of dogs has closed, the Queensland Health Department said.
The clinic at the Croydon campus of Vetco was closed on Friday, after the fire broke out in a shed, said a statement from Queensland Health.
Queensland Health said it was aware of a fire at Vetco on Friday morning and the cause was under investigation.
The fire is believed to have started in a building used by the clinic and it was unclear how long the blaze had lasted.
The Queensland Health website said there were more than 400 people working at the clinic at that time.
“Vetco clinic will be closed for a period of two weeks,” it said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the closure was an “unfortunate and regrettable” situation.
“We understand that the emergency services are currently on site in a number of different areas and that they will be working with the community,” she said.
“However, due to the nature of this incident, it will take a little while to fully assess the extent of the damage.”
She said it would be “very difficult” for people to return to the clinic without being accompanied by a dog handler.
Queensland Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Steve Ciobo said he was aware that the clinic had been closed.
“There is a fire that is currently underway at the Vetco site and we will be consulting with the fire service and Queensland Fire Service as soon as possible to ascertain what has happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again,” he said.
He said it could take up to a week for people who were still at the site to return home.
“I know that it is difficult to imagine that you are going to be back to the Vetcos premises, but it is a difficult situation for us and I know that we are working very hard to assist people who have been impacted,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Ciobo described the blaze as “a very serious incident”.
“I would urge people to be vigilant and check all their surroundings and make sure that their pets are in a safe place before they leave the premises,” he added.
Mr Chiobo said the clinic was one of several operating in Queensland at the time of the fire.
“It is not uncommon for the community to have a number that are not as well equipped as they should be, so I understand that there is a lot of frustration on both sides,” he explained.
Queensland Fire Services said it is now on scene in the shed at the end of the clinic.
“The fire was extinguished by the Queensland Fire Brigade, the emergency response team and the Queensland Police and Rescue Service,” a Queensland Fire and Rescue spokesperson said.
It said it did not know the extent or cause of the blaze.
“While we are investigating this incident we will not be releasing any further information until we are able to gather all the facts,” they said.
Ms Palaszyczuk described the clinic as a “home away from home”.
“It has been the source of a lot more good fortune for so many people,” she told ABC Radio.
“A lot of people who came to the vet are not in the position to go home and take their pets out to the country and be a part of that.”
Ms Palashzyk said the Queensland Government was working with local residents to rebuild the clinic so that people could return home and make a new life for their pets.