THE owner of the Isle of Wight Pet Centre — which lost a number of animals in a fire last night (Monday) — has spoken of his gratitude to his fire service colleagues.

Firefighters were called to the Watergate Road property just after 11pm after smoke was seen rising from the building.

A number of animals were killed in the incident, including the much loved cockatoo, Brolly, who had been at the centre for nearly 30 years.

Paul Collins, owner of the centre and retained fire officer, said the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service had been great.

He said: "A number of off-duty fire officers came to the scene last night for support. I was so grateful.

"I really want to thank everyone that helped out and is still helping now."

A number of crew members returned to the scene after their shift today to help with the clear up.

Layton Bryant, station manager at Newport Fire Station and command support officer at last night's incident, said: "Four off-duty officers from Newport came to the scene with us and at least half a dozen were there from other stations.

"He is a member of the service so he's one of your own. The job takes on a new meaning."

Paul said the next step is to try to house some of the fish.

"We're trying to get the power back on and going to start trying to house some of them in the cafe.

"We will also try to open the cafe and keep up selling the dry goods as soon as possible so we can make some revenue.

"Unfortunately, we won't be able to host animals for a while."

He added the incident would probably cause a large financial loss to the centre.

"The housing facilities we lost cost about £90,000, and that's without the building or the stock."

A gofundme page, which has raised £1,030 in six hours, has been set up to try and help the centre. Those interested can donate here.