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Officials: Vet clinic fire doesn't seem suspicious

A fire that killed 17 animals inside a Plainview veterinary clinic has been preliminarily determined not to be suspicious, authorities said Monday.

While the Nassau fire marshal's office will issue a final report on the Sunday morning fire in the coming weeks, Plainview Fire Department First Deputy Chief Craig Robinson said the cause was likely electrical.

"There's nothing suspicious whatsoever," Robinson said. "I'm leaning toward electrical."

Electrical work had been done several hours before the 7:41 a.m. fire, he said. Workers had been at the clinic at 669 Old Country Rd. until about 2 a.m., in an effort to keep animals cool with air-conditioning.

The owner of the Old Country Animal Clinic, Dr. Robert A. Monaco, declined to comment Monday. Robinson said Monaco had been treated and released at the scene for smoke inhalation after trying to enter the burning building.

A recording at the clinic Monday said: "As we all struggle to cope with the recent fire that devastated our animal hospital, please rest assured that we will still be here to serve you and your pets. We will resume appointments and surgeries just as soon as possible. Please be patient." The animals that died included dogs, birds, turtles and a rabbit.

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