Investigators have determined that a fire started inside the Tacoma Central PetSmart Thursday night was arson.
The store at 2236 South 23rd Street is expected to remain closed until next week. No animals died in the blaze and none appeared to be injured, according to Tacoma Fire and a PetSmart manager.
All the animals – an exact number was unknown – are being kept at PetSmart stores in Lakewood and Federal Way, store manager Oscar Avalos said.
Flames originated in some pet supplies in the retail section, Tacoma Fire spokesman Joe Meineke said. He declined to elaborate.
Damages are estimated at $35,000.
The blaze was reported about 6:20 p.m. As the store’s sprinkler system kicked in and doused the flames, employees grabbed dogs from the grooming area and kept them in their personal cars to calm them down.
“In a well-coordinated effort, evacuation of the staff, patrons and various four-legged, reptile and avian occupants took center stage,” Meineke said.
High-powered fans were used to ventilate the building.
Tacoma police are investigating the case.