Tacoma fire crews responded about 6:20 p.m. to a fire at the Tacoma Central PetSmart at 3326 S. 23rd St. Firefighters searched the building to make sure no people were inside, and proceeded to remove animals from the building.
No one was injured, but it’s not yet clear if any animals have been hurt, according to Tacoma Fire. The blaze is out, and an investigator is on the way to determine how it started, officials said.
Some pets are safely sheltered in an area of the building the fire did not reach, Battalion Chief Jolene Davis said.
Bystanders said store employees also rescued animals from the building.
“I ran into the grooming salon and grabbed a beagle and a french bulldog and ran out,” said a PetSmart cashier as she helped take care of animals in the parking lot.
Before she could give her name, a woman who appeared to be a manager told all employees they were not to speak with the media.
PetSmart employees rescued 11-year-old mixed-breed Higgins and 1-year-old beagle Harvey from the burning store, owner Bryon Taylor said.
He said workers put the dogs in their personal cars outside and kept them calm.
“They took really good care of them,” he said. “They’re (the dogs are) not even shaken up right now.”
The store was not going to charge Taylor for the grooming the dogs received, and planned to replace the leashes and collars that were lost in the blaze, he said.
Australian Shepherd Enzo seemed anxious and confused in the PetSmart parking lot, though she hadn’t been inside the building.
“We were just showing up for training,” owner Kristi Dennett said. “She was so excited for class.”