Seventeen cats at an overnight boarding facility were killed Saturday when a “major emergency structure fire” tore through at a row of commercial buildings in the Palms area of Los Angeles.
A firefighter was injured battling the blaze, and was rushed to a hospital in fair condition.
“Heavy smoke impacted at least half-dozen businesses, including a feline overnight boarding facility where several cats were rescued, but others sadly perished,’ said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Firefighters were dispatched at 5:44 a.m. to 9000 W. Venice Blvd. and had the blaze out within 73 minutes of their arrival, Humphrey said.
“One firefighter took ill during the intense firefight, and has been taken to an area hospital in fair condition for observation,” he added.
Seventeen cats were pronounced dead at the scene and two cats were considered “viable” for medical care, Humphrey said.
The surviving cats were housed at an overnight boarding facility called CatPlaceLA, at 9030 Venice Blvd., officials said.
The direct fire damage was limited to five adjoining businesses — a nail salon, smoke shop, martial arts studio, a staffing agency and the feline overnight boarding facility, fire officials said. An adjacent jewelry store and restaurant sustained collateral smoke, heat and water damage.
All seven affected businesses were under one roof and shared a common attic, Humphrey said.
“None of those businesses were equipped with optional fire sprinklers,” he added.
No civilian injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. The fire department said vehicle travel on Venice Boulevard, between Robertson and Culver boulevards, would be limited to one westbound lane Saturday afternoon as firefighters and investigators continue to work the scene.