Seventeen cats that were in a pet hotel were killed after a fire broke out at a strip mall in a Los Angeles neighborhood on Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Around 124 firefighters responded to an emergency call of a fire at the 9000 block of West Venice Boulevard located in Palms at 5:44 am local time Saturday, the LAFD said.
The strip mall includes about a dozen businesses, including CatPlaceLA, a boarding facility for felines.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to seven businesses, including a nail salon, smoke shop, martial arts studio, staffing agency and the pet facility, authorities said. Five of those businesses were gutted due to the heavy flames, fire officials said.
Firefighters removed 19 cats from the smoke-filled pet boarding facility but were only able to save two of them, according to the LAFD.
“While two of the cats were safely resuscitated by firefighters and soon transported to emergency veterinary care, 17 others were sadly beyond medical help and perished at the scene,” LAFD spokesperson Brian Humphrey wrote in a statement.
“Our notion is that the animals all perished as a result of smoke exposure,” Humphrey told ABC News.
According to the LAFD, one firefighter got sick while helping put out the flames, but it was unrelated to the fire. The firefighter was taken to an area hospital in fair condition and is receiving medical care.
Officials said it took more than an hour to put out the flames and that no civilians were hurt in the fire.
“None of the businesses were equipped with fire sprinklers,” Humphrey said.
The LAFD is investigating the cause of the fire.