CMDART is an independent, charitable, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. We provide information, training,
support, supplies and personnel to help plan, prepare and respond to aid animals affected by man-made
or natural disasters at all levels of disasters according to our capabilities and resources.

Dozens of cats, dogs perish in fire at
Sweetpea Friends of Rutland animal shelter in Paxton


By Kim Ring
Telegram & Gazette Staff (full article)

Posted Nov. 22, 2015 at 11:40 PM Updated Nov 23, 2015 at 1:13 PM


PAXTON - Most or all of the cats and all but five dogs perished in a fire Sunday night that destroyed a building at Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals, a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue operation at 1090 Pleasant St.

A stretch of Route 122 (Pleasant Street) was closed about 10:45 p.m. as firefighters battled flames and smoke pouring from the roof of the building, one of two buildings on the Sweetpea property near the Rutland town line.
By 11:40 p.m. firefighters appeared to have extinguished the flames, and fire officials said they rescued four or five dogs, mostly larger breeds. The dogs were being treated for smoke inhalation. Smoke was still heavy as firefighters tried to rescue cats, and they said they were unable to rescue any of the felines.
During the fire, Sweetpea pleaded on Twitter and Facebook for volunteers to help move animals and added, "This is not a drill."
Volunteers showed up with blankets for the animals, water for firefighters and other supplies. A veterinarian who is married to a firefighter arrived and was treating the rescued dogs. At 1:15 a.m. Monday, Sweetpea put a plea on social media for more veterinarians to go to the shelter as soon as possible. Meanwhile, paramedics acted as veterinary technicians, helping to treat the rescued dogs.
Volunteers gathered in the second building on the property, which was not affected by the fire. They sobbed as they tried to warm the dogs rescued from the burning building, holding them wrapped in blankets, and shared the names of the dogs that were lost.
Pit-bull mixes Stella and DaVinci were survivors, along with Brooklyn Sky, Jade and Bebo. One of the dogs that was rescued had been at the kennel for two years, a volunteer said.
There were about 50 cats and dogs in all at the shelter, staffers said. As firefighters began packing up and leaving early Monday, a shelter staffer said a couple of cats might have escaped the fire, and people were putting out crates with cat food, trying to catch them. The shelter's humane traps burned in the fire.
Paxton Fire Chief Jay Conte said the building that burned was a total loss; the other was not damaged. The property previously was the site of Palatine Kennels.
Shelter director Richard Clark said Sweetpea had rented space at the site for about three years, became the owner about a year ago and had just taken possession of the second building, the one that didn't burn. He said the former owner was still operating on the site until it could relocate.
Fire officials said most of the dogs that succumbed were smaller dogs. Fire Capt. Tom Savage told volunteers that firefighters tried to rescue as many animals as they could.
Firefighters from Holden, Leicester, Spencer, Rutland and Oakham assisted the Paxton Fire Department, Chief Conte said.
Mr. Clark said Sweetpea will need a lot of help to get back on its feet. A Facebook post Monday morning asked for supplies, and Mr. Clark said the organization had posted a "wish list" on Items needed include pet food bowls, paper towels and canned food for dogs and cats. He said gift cards for pet stores or other stores also were welcome.
Sweetpea had a sign out front advertising a scheduled event Dec. 6, when pets could be photographed with Santa.



Watch Real-Life Bambi and Thumper Play in the Mountain



Tenants, pets escape Worcester blaze

Link to original article


WORCESTER — Tenants of a three-decker, their two calico cats and the container of a woman’s ashes were all safe after a two-alarm fire Wednesday morning on Wachusett Street.
Residents of 33 Wachusett St. watched from the sidewalk as firefighters used ladder trucks to attack the blaze from above. Danielle Luby, who has lived on the third floor for three years, was in tears as she begged firefighters to help her save her family’s cats — Kit Kat and Reeses — as well as a copper tin containing the ashes of her sister, who died in January.
“I’ve lost everything if I can’t get up there,” she said.
Flames and smoke were visible from the roof of the apartment building about 8:20 a.m. as dark smoke blanketed the neighborhood. Firefighters were in and out of the structure in near-freezing temperatures throughout the morning.
Around 10 a.m., two firefighters emerged with the calico felines in their arms. They said the cats were unharmed and had burrowed safely into a mattress in the top floor apartment, which is where investigators say the fire appeared to have started. About a half-hour before that, firefighters had saved for Ms. Luby a framed photograph of family members and the tin containing ashes.
Deputy Fire Chief Geoffrey Gardell said investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen. With the wind blowing, he said, flames were pushed from the rear to the front of the building. The fire filled the third floor and attic, extending to the roof. He estimated damage to the house, with three apartments, at $150,000. The fire remains under investigation.
Thomas McCullom, who lives with Ms. Luby’s family on the third floor, watched the blaze as he clutched his Chihuahua, Sandy. He said they were out for a walk when the fire hit. He stood close by with the tiny dog shivering in his arms.
Ms. Luby’s son, Arthur Wyman, said he was inside the third-floor apartment when the fire started.
“I looked out my window and saw smoke,” he said.
Kristin Guyott, who lives on the first floor, was with her two children when she heard someone yell, “Fire.” She said she saw smoke, rushed her children outside and made sure her cat, Joey, got out the door, too. Then she ran up to the second and third floors to bang on her neighbors’ doors to warn them. She said she believed the second-floor tenant wasn’t home at the time.
“This is insane,” Ms. Guyott said, adding that she was grateful that neighbors had invited her 4-year-old and 4-month-old inside to get warm. “I didn’t even have time to grab their coats. I was so terrified ... They’re shaken.”
Peter Stathoulopoulos, brother of the building owner, Tina Stathoulopoulos Cavanna, said he was thankful no one had been hurt. Mr. Stathoulopoulos said he heard from a resident about a crackling sound in the early morning.
Deputy Chief Gardell said one firefighter was evaluated at the scene for exhaustion and dehydration and was in stable condition.
The deputy chief said firefighters had to do back-breaking work to pull out ceiling boards to get at the growing flames.

Wachusett Street and a portion of Highland Street remained closed for some time as emergency vehicles crowded the roads.


The bad news is that several pets have been perishing in the multiple fires we've had in Central Massachusetts over the past few months.


Fire in Douglas that I responded to both as RC and CMDART. Multiple animals died.



CMDART was requested to present to scientists and micro-biologists at the FDA as part of their annual giving campaign through the Combined Federal Campaign. This year, CMDART, presented at the Naval Base in Newport and to members of the Federal Postal Community. Contributions from the CFC helps sustain CMDARTS mission.

Flood Destroys Zoo in Georgia Capital

Full Story

How Emerging Tech Is Changing Disaster Relief

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The Rock isn't going to save San Francisco after a cargo ship-moving, bridge-splitting, tsunami-causing earthquake … but cutting-edge technology might. Given recent progress by inventors, it looks like it can. I thought it would be interesting to look at some recent examples of emerging technology for disaster relief in action.

7 Promising Technologies Identified
Earlier this year, I attended an event organized by the Red Cross to brainstorm and develop ideas surrounding emerging technology and disaster relief.This San Francisco workshop was one of many that occurred across the world. From the ideas and information shared in these workshops, the Red Cross published a report called A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs. The Red Cross identified seven technologies that could be used in disaster relief:

1. Drones
2. 3D printing
3. Biometrics
4. Smart homes, cars, and appliances
5. Augmented reality
6. Robots
7. Wearable technology

Rescue Robots
After a devastating earthquake strikes, a nuclear power plant is on the verge of an explosion. A robot hero is sent into the rubble to shut off some critical valves — too dangerous a task for humans. No, this isn't the plotline of the next film in the RoboCop franchise, but the scenario behind a competition at the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge. Reporting from the Challenge, the LA Times described an ape-like robot called CHIMP, a wheeled robot named
RoboSimian, and a pink-haired humanoid named THOR-RD. These robots can drive cars, climb steps, detect objects, and more. At the DARPA challenge, a South Korean robot successfully completed all eight of the tasks assigned to the robots, earning its makers a $2 million prize. But, as this video below demonstrates, many of the competing bipedal (two-legged) robots have trouble keeping balance. We've still got a ways to go.

Drones in Nepal
After the destructive earthquake in Nepal, drones provided crucial assistance to aid workers. GlobalMedic, a company that
deploys drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles) for relief efforts, has been tasked to map the affected areas. Two of the drones the company is using, the SkyRanger and Scout models, can identify people trapped or injured by using thermal cameras. GlobalMedic says that the images captured by the drones can help workers deliver relief more effectively.

3D Printing a New Hand
Of all of these technologies, 3D printing has had the longest history of being used for disaster relief. From 3D-printed umbilical clips to water filters, relief workers have found creative — and lifesaving — uses for 3D printers. We've also seen 3D printers utilized to create prosthetics, something that would also be highly useful in a disaster situation.

For example, Welmer Cordova, who was badly burned in a gas explosion in Guatemala, lost part of his right hand. Now, he can open and close his hand thanks to a 3D-printed hand brace. Was it a doctor who printed Welmer's new hand? Nope, it was a librarian, John Walsh, at the Newton Free Library in Massachusetts! While Walsh is experienced in using 3D printers, the hope is that asthese devices evolve, almost anybody can print a life-changing or lifesaving item. A Wearable Tech for Relief Challenge Tech Wildcatters, a start-up accelerator in Dallas, announced a challenge called Emerge <> for making wearable technology for police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, this project is a 12-week program, which started June 8, for six start-ups ending with a demo day hosted by partner Wearable World in San Francisco.

The Department of Homeland Security chose this start-up challenge format for wearable technology because the format might speed up the development and adoption process. We'll keep you updated with what kind of wearables for disaster relief come out of this exciting challenge.

Looking Forward to More Emerging Technologies
There are still a few technology categories on the Red Cross list that are still in concept stage: biometrics, smart homes and cars, and augmented reality. There isn't much out there about these technologies being used or developed for disaster relief, but as the Red Cross continues these workshops and conversations, we will be sure to see more news arise.


Dee and dogs
Pet Owner Prevention Education Training
Making good use of the "calm before the storm"


CMDART is looking for “Preparedness Education Ambassadors” to attend some upcoming trainings to help teach pet owners how to prepare before the next disaster and to help promote our team. CMDART Ambassodor Trainings will be held from 5:30-6:30 the second Tuesday of each month by advanced appointment only (with a minimum confirmation of three people) starting in March. Trainings will be held at the American Red Cross Bldg. 2000 Century Drive, Worcester Rm 210. Contact us if you are interested in taking the CMDART Ambassador training. To insure some best practices for our public education effort, we will also have a briefing prior to each event for those who are new or need a refresh on best practices.
Please sign up for upcoming events at

CMDART is also seeking an Events Coordinator and a Clerk for our Board of Directors.
Relevant experience is required. Please contact if you are interested.


If you are a Federal Employee or know a Federal employee, please ask them to consider making a contribution to CMDART,Inc. Our team has once again been approved to receive donations via the Combined Federal Campaign program through the assistance of the Animal Welfare Fund. The CFC is a program that encourages federal employees to make contributions to charities of their choosing. The CDC reference code for CMDART is # 22157. We are listed under Disaster Animal Response Team for the following five zones: Eastern Massachusetts, Greater Hartford, Northern NE (Vermont and New Hampshire), Rhode Island and Southeast Mass, plus Western Mass. We are very grateful to the Animal Welfare Fund for helping us to get approved again. For those of you who have already contributed, we thank you very much for supporting our mission.





Be Prepared with an Emergency Pet Go Kit

Pet Go Kits help pet owners be personally prepared for emergencies by including necessary items needed for a quick departure of the home.

To create your own Emergency Kit, download our checklist of recommended items.

To purchase a Pet Go Kit for $20.00, contact