2 Dogs, 3 Cats Saved by Firefighters

Studio City firefighters find pets in burning, smoke-filled home. Despite efforts, four of the nine animals die.

Los Angeles firefighters found four dogs and five cats in a burning house on Laurel Canyon Boulevard just south of Mulholland Drive late Wednesday night.

Using miniature oxygen masks and CPR techniques, firefighters revived two dogs and three cats. Two dogs and two cats perished. One cat ran off and firefighters couldn't retrieve it, but hope that it will be found soon.

Studio City-based Fire Station 97, responding to a call at at 10:01 p.m., went to the scene at 2747 Laurel Canyon Blvd.

“As soon as we arrived, we entered the building and we saw the animals on the floor near the door,” fire Capt. John Wolfenstein said.

A large black dog was revived quickly. A Chihuahua-terrier mix didn’t look like he'd make it at first, Wolfenstein said.

 “I didn’t think the little one was going to come back, but he did, and he seems just fine now,” said Wolfenstein, who put the little dog in one of the cars parked outside the house.  “At first, we had the address a little wrong and we drove right past and I pointed out this place and said, ‘Hey, that house is on fire!' "

No people were inside the house, and the residents had not returned home an hour after the fire was extinguished at 10:22 p.m.

One cat that was suffering from smoke inhalation began breathing again after breathing through a small oxygen mask. The small masks used on the animals were donated to LAFD by an animal care group, firefighters said. 

“We used the masks for about 10 minutes on each of them and saved as many as we could,” said Capt. Mike Castillo. “We treat them just like anyone else.”

The pets were transported to the Department of Animal Regulation until the owners could be notified. One neighbor said she had no idea so many animals lived in the house. 

The fire seemed to have started in the kitchen, but the cause is still under investigation, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Laurel Canyon Boulevard was closed in both directions to traffic until after midnight from Lookout Mountain Avenue to Mulholland Drive.

L. R. May 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Why wasn't there any concern or questions about the condition of the three kitties? There is such an imbalance in our culture as far as compassion towards cats and dogs. These cats have brains, a beating heart, the need to connect with human companions and to feel love as well. I wish there would be more respect and equality for the beautiful animal that is the domestic pet cat. I hope all three kitties recover well and live a cared for and nurtured rest of their life. Blessings to all the scared animals who were trapped by smoke, home alone, and especially to the little spirits who left their bodies that day. Thank you to the firemen and firewomen who put their energy and intention to saving these animals in the same energy they would a human being.:)
Mike Szymanski May 19, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Oh the kittens were saved! The one hanging on for dear life is OK.... unfortunately they were already taken away by the time I got thee, so no photos....but they were treated equally, even more, since the one they last brought back seemed certainly gone.
Mary McGrath May 19, 2011 at 04:28 PM
What a touching story Mike....I grew up on Lassie and stories like this really pull at my heartstrings...
Laura Sturza May 20, 2011 at 12:35 AM
I love this story Mike. Thank you for covering the firefighters' bravery and compassion in their rescue of these animals.
Don Helverson May 20, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Good job, Mike!
victoria kuhl May 22, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Thanks for your story, I am one of the residents of that house. My boyfriend is a musician and we were away at a gig when this happened. We will always be grateful to the firefighters who saved our surviving pets. Also thanks to them, the fire was mostly confined to the kitchen. Had they arrived even ten minutes later, all of our pets and the entire house would probably be gone. So in our sorrow we know we have a lot to be grateful for.
Scott Killeen July 06, 2011 at 03:38 AM


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