Firefighters responded to a second-alarm fire at a Simi Valley strip mall Saturday morning that impacted both aquatic and four-legged animals.
The blaze was reported around 9:40 a.m. in the 1600 block of East Los Angeles Avenue in a 10-unit strip mall generally west of Erringer Road, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The blaze had broken out in the Aquarium Connection, with smoke spreading to other businesses through the connected attic area, said fire Capt. Brian McGrath.
Firefighters successfully rescued 18 dogs from a pet resort that had heavy smoke inside, he said. The dogs weren't seriously injured.
"They're all OK," he said. Community members helped firefighters corral the dogs at the rear of the structure.
Fire crews were also trying to help save fish and other critters at the aquarium shop.
"They've got some beautiful fish and live coral reefs," McGrath said.
The process of bringing power to the shop was complicated by the ongoing investigation, he said, as crews worked amid the damage and tried to restore some power without impeding investigators.
The owner of the aquarium business had arrived to open the shop and found smoke at "knee level," he said. The owner called 911.
The aquarium shop suffered most of the damage and is currently not able to be occupied, McGrath said. Damage to the other businesses was described as minor.
Major traffic delays were expected in the area as crews closed Los Angeles Avenue to stage equipment. Simi Valley police advised motorists to avoid the area of Los Angeles Avenue and Galt Street.
McGrath described the area to avoid as near the Baskin-Robbins.
In a video, McGrath said the hazard of the type of strip mall involved is that they share a common attic.
"The fire had breached the attic and got into the attic," McGrath said, "so smoke is throughout all the businesses."
As of late morning, the cause remained under investigation, McGrath said.
This story will be updated.
AngelesFire; FFs have located the area of the fire but there is extensive smoke throughout the 10 occupancies. Numerous dogs have been rescued out the a business with no injuries. @VCFD @SimiValleyPD #VCFD @CountyVentura @City_SimiValley pic.twitter.com/7NesYNy7nC
— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) October 1, 2022
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Fire erupts at Simi Valley aquarium shop; dogs rescued