Sixty cats and dogs are alive and safe thanks to the heroic efforts of Vacaville Police Officers in California after the animal shelter they were housed in was threatened by wildfires.
Video footage shows police, staff and volunteers rushing to get cats into cages and leashing dogs, with smoke from the fire ominously approaching in the background.
The animals were housed in an SPCA building that appeared to be directly in the path of the Nelson Fire, one of the many wildfires burning in Solano County.
“As the Nelson Fire raced towards the south end of town, it looked like the Solano SPCA would be the first to be hit by the flames, Vacaville Police Department wrote. “Our officers worked with Humane Animal Services, SPCA staff and volunteers to evacuate all they could in a race against the clock.”
“All of the animals are out of the shelter for the night and the shelter wasn’t damaged,” the Solano SPCA wrote on Facebook. “We are smokey but we are OK.”
Police said all the animals were saved and placed in foster homes overnight.
On Sunday, the Solano County SPCA requested animals be returned to the building, which avoided damage from the fire.
SPCA Solano’s official page provided further updates as to what happened.
“We wanted to give a quick update and thank everyone for their support. We understand that many people are under the impression that we left a volunteer and cats behind last night in the fire. We were forced to evacuate under extremely short notice. Vacaville Police Department was gracious enough to fit as many animals as they could in their vehicles to help us.”
“Unfortunately we were under the impression that all animals were out and safe when we evacuated. We found out later that there had been a few cats still in the cat building.
“However, fire crews were stationed on our property, outside that building, ready to protect it. The volunteer that was in there went in illegally and crossed the fire line without anyone knowing after we had been out for quite a while. We would never leave a person behind. If we knew he was in there, we would have called to inform first responders to get him out!
“Once it was deemed safe, shortly after we found out a volunteer was there, two of our staff members were able to be escorted in by the police department to get the remainder of the animals out.
“All animals are safe in foster homes at this time. Unfortunately we do not have power or water at this time but all 60 of our animals are safe in foster homes for the time being.
“We are hoping to get in there tomorrow to clean up the ash and debris inside our kennel building and around the property. We thank you all so much for your donations, love, support, and concerns. The Vacaville community has been so gracious to open their homes and hearts for us.”