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Blue Dog Pet Shop owners credit Fairview firefighters for animal rescue

23 pets carried to safety as Lemoyne lumber yard burned nearby

A photo from Blue Dog Pet Store shows rescued pets temporarily bunking in the Lontz family's dining room Monday night. Firefighters helped the store owners rescue 23 pets from the Lemoyne store when flames tore through a nearby lumber yard. The store was open as usual again today. - (Photo / Submitted)

The Blue Dog Pet Shop is open again today, with adoptions taking place as usual amid the happy sounds of critters and visitors.

Manager Beth Lontz is thankful for the return to normalcy after the Lemoyne business suffered a brush with disaster.

Twenty-three pets — including dogs, cats, birds, one chinchilla and a mouse — were evacuated from the Hummel Avenue building Monday night after a massive blaze broke out at Lafferty & Co. Inc. lumber yard, two doors away.

“The firefighters were wonderful,” Lontz said.

Vicious Cycles, located immediately next to the lumber yard, sustained significant damage. Blue Dog’s building, across the driveway, only suffered some minor second-floor damage, Lontz said.

But with flames shooting skyward and a pall of smoke blanketing the neighborhood on Monday night, the risk to Blue Dog’s building full of pets was immediate.

Lontz, together with family members — including her mother, Cheryl, one of the owners — arrived on scene and began moving the animals. But it became obvious they couldn’t handle the rescue all by themselves.

And they didn’t have to. A chief from Fairview Township had been assigned to help the family, and rounded up six or eight other firefighters for help carrying the pets to safety, Lontz said.

“We are just so grateful,” she added.

The family initially took all the pets home, but support and friendship didn’t end with the firefighters.

“Everybody was wonderful. We had so many people offering to help,” Lontz said, with messages coming through several channels, including the store’s Facebook page.

In the end, the animals were back in the store by Tuesday evening, and the shop’s business resumed this morning, including two adoptions so far today.

“We will never be able to thank you enough for what you all did to help us,” the Blue Dog team posted in a Facebook message to first responders and the community.

Lafferty co-owner Chuck Felak, meanwhile, told CPBJ that the lumber yard was working to re-open today in the wake of the blaze.

Efforts to reach West Shore Bureau of Fire officials and a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal to learn more about the investigation were not immediately successful.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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