METAIRIE, La. â€“ Four businesses were damaged and a number of small animals died, though many were rescued as an afternoon fire spread through two buildings Wednesday afternoon in the 1000 block of Veterans Boulevard.
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The fire, which department officials believe started when a propane tank exploded inside of Krantzâ€™s Seafood, went to three alarms as firefighters had a tough time in the hot and windy conditions.
â€œThis was a very difficult fire to fight because of the closeness of the buildings involved,â€ said Jefferson Parish Fire Department Spokesman George Rigamer.
The fire tore through Krantzâ€™s Seafood, along with the Sweet Things Grill, the Pet Emporium and an alteration shop. Krantzâ€™s and Sweet Things were heavily damaged with fire and water. At the Pet Emporium, several of the storeâ€™s â€˜for saleâ€™ animals â€“ mice, birds and fish did not survive. However, all of the clientsâ€™ dogs and cats were rescued, one in dramatic fashion.
Pictures from the scene
Cammie Celino raced to the scene when she learned of the fire and was greeted by the woman who grooms her 16-year-old cat with news that shook her badly.
â€œI drive up, I threw my car in park and I was freaked out,â€ said Celino. â€œRita, the groomer was on the ground screaming, â€˜I forgot your cat.â€™â€
Celino and Rita Navarre tried to race back into the burning building but were stopped by police. Celino was kept at bay, but Navarre got into the building and saved the cat despite heat so intense that it melted her shoes to the floor.
â€œI owe her my life,â€ said a grateful Celino. â€œThat cat is my life. I love her. Ritaâ€™s an angel. Sheâ€™s a saint.â€