Firefighters battled a Major Emergency structure fire in the Palms area early Saturday morning, that led to the death of 17 pet cats and sent one firefighter to the hospital.
A cell phone call to 9-1-1 from a passerby at 5:44 AM on September 17, 2022, brought the first of 124 members of the Los Angeles Fire Department to the 9000 block of West Venice Boulevard, where they discovered smoke showing from the central section of a 50' x 425' one-story row of fifteen commercial occupancies.
During the intense firefight that included both strategic defensive and well-coordinated offensive operations, firefighters forced entry into and searched the many businesses, including CatPlaceLA, a feline boarding facility, where nineteen cats were carried from the smoke charged premises by firefighters.
While two of the cats were safely resuscitated by firefighters and soon transported to emergency veterinary care, seventeen others were sadly beyond medical help and perished at the scene.
Though thick smoke charged the majority of the large building that featured a common attic, the bulk of direct fire damage was limited to five businesses, including a nail salon, smoke shop, martial arts studio, staffing agency, and the aforementioned pet boarding facility.
Collateral smoke, heat and water damage affected an adjacent jewelry store and a restaurant. None of the involved businesses were equipped with optional fire sprinklers.
One firefighter suffered sudden medical illness in the midst of the firefight, and was taken to an area hospital in fair condition for further medical evaluation. There were thankfully no civilian injuries.
The flames were fully extinguished in just 73 minutes. The specific cause of the fire remains the focus of an active investigation currently led by the Los Angeles Police Department, with LAFD as an assisting agency.
INCIDENT PHOTO GALLERY