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Pet Store Fire: Jerks Try To Steal Rescued Puppies

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The good news after a fire ripped through a pet store: The puppies and rabbits were saved. The bad news: People were trying to steal the newly rescued pups.

Firefighters were called to the scene of Kim's Pets and Fish in the the 1100 block of North Vermont Avenue at about 6:10 a.m. When they arrived, they found the building engulfed in heavy smoke and flames, ABC News reports.

Crews were able to rescue a cage full of puppies and one full of rabbits, says Ariel Valdez, who lives across the street. She told Fox's Hal Eisner that she came over to try to help rescue some of the animals.

But several of the people who flocked to the scene were not there to help, but to steal a pet, Valdez said. "A lot of people were trying to take off with the puppies. [They] started running up and surrounded the cages. They were like, 'Oh, we want the pug. Let us take one home.'" She said, "It makes me sad, because the owner lost everything. This is all she has left."

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The family who runs the store declined to talk on camera but were described as "distraught."

According to Valdez, aquariums full of fish and several reptiles did not survive the fire.

The fire burned through the roof of the two-story building, which is located in a strip mall west of Silver Lake. No one was hurt, authorities said, and they were able to extinguish the fire in under an hour before it spread to neighboring businesses.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.