Springfield Animal Hospital reopens after January fire

Jacqueline Baselow works reception at the Springfield Animal Hospital (SAH). — KELSEY CHRISTENSEN

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — The Springfield Animal Hospital (SAH), owned by Dr. Brad Temple and Dr. Dena Meehan, returned to 346 River St., permanently, on Monday after months of working out of a temporary location.

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“It really feels like coming home,” said Samantha Hawkins, office manager at the SAH.

On Jan. 19, a fire gutted the facility. Springfield Fire Chief Russ Thompson later said the fire started in the hospital’s crematorium.

“The fire happened in the attic, so it damaged all the plumbing, the electrical. We had a tile floor, the tile got broken. The walls were filled with smoke,” Hawkins said.

Between damage to the roof, electrical, plumbing, and smoke damage throughout the interior, the SAH required an all-new interior. Luckily, however, the fire didn’t claim any lives — feline, canine, or otherwise.

Since the fire, the animal hospital had temporarily set up shop at 365 River St., which is down the street and next to Bibens Home Center.

Hawkins said the SAH was fortunate to have such a big space at 365 River St., but there were challenges nonetheless.

“We had to be creative with organizing, and the way stocking happened,” Hawkins said.

The biggest challenge of all, though, was the uncertainty.

“Knowing that we weren’t in our home, and we didn’t know when we’d be back [was the hardest part],” Hawkins said.

Several months later, however, the SAH is back at home, with floor-to-ceiling renovations: new flooring, a new roof, new paint, and even a new layout.

“The treatment area has been rearranged so the flow works better,” Hawkins said.

For instance, an office has been moved downstairs, so freed up upstairs space now offers a quiet, dark place for furry friends to get an ultrasound. Parry Construction did most of the carpentry, while HB Energy worked on much of the heating, cooling, plumbing, and electric work.

Staff contributed to some touch-ups after move-in, and were instrumental in moving everything back in and organizing it so that SAH could be re-opened by Monday, according to Hawkins.

The SAH has been closed for the past week and a half while they get the new space ready.

“The community has been really, really great,” Hawkins said.

The SAH couldn’t take any appointments while they moved, yet everyone who had to shift appointments was understanding rather than upset, Hawkins said. Meanwhile, other vets in the area helped out by seeing SAH clients during the closing.

“We couldn’t have done this without help from our community and our staff,” Hawkins said.

Now that the SAH is back at its original — and permanent — location, the hospital can start offering its full range of services again. At the temporary location, SAH wasn’t able to board or groom pets.

“We know where we’re at, we don’t have to wonder if we won’t be able to offer all the services for our clients,” Hawkins said. “The building is beautiful, we’re all very happy.”


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