Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Fire forces animals out of Oxon Hill PetSmart

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A fire at an Oxon Hill pet store forced about two dozen animals to be evacuated Thursday, said Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady.

At 11:15 a.m., firefighters responded to a call from a PetSmart store, located at 6005 Oxon Hill Road in Oxon Hill, to find heavy smoke coming from the front doors and loading dock.

The fire, contained by an automated sprinkler system, was located at the rear of the store where the cat products were located. The blaze was completely extinguished by firefighters within 15 minutes. The cause of the fire is considered “suspicious“ and is under investigation, Brady said. Damage from the fire is estimated at $25,000. No injuries were reported.

About two dozens cats and dogs in the grooming section of the store were evacuated by employees and shoppers, who housed the pets in their vehicles until their owners arrived to claim them.

One adult cat escaped during the evacuation and is still missing, Brady said. Dozens of smaller pets — such as reptiles, small furry animals and fish that were sold in the store — were deemed safe, removed from the store and transported to another PetSmart.

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call Prince George’s County Fire Investigators at 301-77-ARSON.