Zoobecks Owner Plans To Rebuild After Fire

  • Owner Jim Rubeck (left) speaks with fire investigators.

After a fire burned through Zoobecks Pets and Supplies late last night and early this morning, the store’s owner says he plans to rebuild.

Owner Jim Rubeck discovered the blaze late last night as he was writing orders. After noticing a haze in the building and being unable to find the source outside or upstairs, Rubeck said realized there was a fire in the basement. As he attempted to enter the basement, he noticed the lights weren’t functioning, and he quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher, but he was met by a wall of smoke as he attempted to enter the basement.

Rubeck said he realized the fire was beyond what he could extinguish himself, and he called to report the blaze. Fire Chief Jim Wamsley reports that crews were dispatched to the store at 501 Center Street around midnight.

Rubeck said the Rock Springs Fire Department responded quickly and professionally with a full crew, but they were unable to safely enter the basement. By the early morning hours, flames entered the upstairs area and the building appeared to be fully engulfed in flames.

Witnesses say the main body of the fire was extinguished by 3:30 a.m., and crews were able to enter the building at that time.

Approximately 35 reptiles, amphibians, and tarantulas survived the blaze. Unfortunately, all of the store’s furry animals, birds, and fish perished in the fire—including the beloved store kitty, Patrick.

No humans were injured or lost in the fire.

Rubeck said it’s still unclear what will be required to reopen, but he does plan to rebuild.

“Zoobecks will be closed temporarily. If we need to relocate our store and sell product through another location until construction is complete, we do have full intentions of that,” said Rubeck. “Otherwise, once construction is complete, we’ll have a new grand opening.”

Rubeck said he appreciates all the support from the community with people reaching out to him personally and through social media.

The fire is still under investigation and the Rock Springs Fire Department has so far been unable to provide further details about the blaze.

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