Fire tears through pet store; animals evacuated

Sky 2 was over the scene as people rushed to evacuate the pets

HOUSTON - A fire tore through a building housing a pet store in north Houston and the animals inside had to be evacuated.

Yellow tape now surrounds the entire building including the pet store. Fire investigators are now on scene, trying to figure out what started the fire. The good news is that everyone, including the animals, made it out safe.

Earlier Thursday, flames shot up from behind the building on the Hardy Toll Road. It appears to have started behind a tax office while Janie Medina was working at her desk.

"I heard a boom. boom! boom!" said Medina. "I went and I smelled smoke and I went outside and it was on fire."

Medina said she rushed out of the building and called 911, then she and others tried their best to save what they could from her business, Giovanni's Pet Store, and those nearby. That included dozens of birds, reptiles, and puppies from the nearby pet shop, walking their cages across the street.

"We went around and it was all burning and we helped bring the animals out. We brought them over here because there was fire, smoke and stuff so we brought them over here," Medina said.

Firefighters say the fire itself appears to have spread along the back of the building. We're told the only business that suffered actual fire damage is the tax office.

The owner of the pet store told Local 2 she is grateful for all the help of the passers-by, who helped salvage what was inside her store including the smallest of creatures.

Firefighters say a lack of hydrants in this area created a challenge, so water had to be trucked in. The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is handling the investigation.

The building also houses a beauty shop, but everyone was able to make it out safely.

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