SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Hundreds of animals at the local humane society were threatened with potential evacuation orders as a nearby fire spread fast this afternoon. Four area fire departments together extinguished the flames before they got that far.

It took about 6 or 7 fire trucks to get the fire under control. It started in the yard by the building. We spoke to people in the area who saw the fire start.

Witnesses report something as small as a cigarette caused a fire north of Springfield that took hours to contain Sunday afternoon. Homeowner Randy Metler says he was doing yard work when he saw a man throw a cigarette over the fence into his yard causing his property to catch fire.

“Whenever they saw the smoke, they started getting a little worried but weren’t sure. Maybe it was leaves or something. And then it just quickly started building up more and more.” Said Newcomb.

Just moments after the cigarette, the flames were about 5 feet high and making their way across this field.

“By the time we got over there, it had already gotten out of hand. It’s been about 3 hours” Metler said.

The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri could see the flames from its lobby.

Katie Newcomb, an employee at The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, was worried that if flames spread any farther, they would have to evacuate hundreds of animals from the building.

“So, we have about 300 or more animals. We were able to get everyone in the lobby and tried to stay there for a second until we eventually knew it was clear” said Newcomb, “Then we locked the doors, closed down for the day, and made sure just very minimal staff that was needed was here.”.

Multiple fire departments helped contain the fire, and it took about three hours to get everything under control.

“Luckily, the department did very well and was able to contain it enough that it was able to kind of steer away from us.” Said Newcomb.

As far as the animals and the property owner’s house, they are all okay and nobody was hurt.