On Saturday morning, a large fire broke out in a strip mall in the Los Angeles region, killing 17 cats and injuring a firefighter.
A passerby contacted 911 at 5:44 a.m. on Saturday to report a structure fire in the 9000 block of West Venice Boulevard, prompting an immediate response from the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The first 124 firefighters to arrive on the scene reported seeing smoke rising from the middle of the one-story strip mall.
Firefighters spent 73 minutes battling the blaze, during which time they searched many of the businesses in the complex, including CatPlaceLA, a cat boarding facility.
Nineteen cats were rescued by firefighters from the destroyed store, although it is reported that 17 of them were too badly burned to survive. When crews revived the two remaining cats, they were sent to an emergency vet.
A fireman was rushed to the hospital in fair condition after experiencing a “sudden medical issue” while combating the incident, according to the department.
No one else was hurt in the blaze.
As a result of the shared attic space, the entire building was flooded with smoke, although just five businesses—a nail salon, a tobacco shop, a martial arts studio, a staffing agency, and CatPlaceLA—suffered significant direct fire damage.
There was additional smoke, water, and heat damage to the nearby restaurant and jewelry store.