CENTEREACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A pet store went up in flames Thursday on Long Island, trapping dozens of animals inside.
Animal lovers and firefighters rushed to Magic Isle Aquarium & Pets on Middle Country Road in Centereach around 10 a.m.
Many of the pets died in the sudden fire.
“My wife lost her bird we had 20 years, it’s gone. I don’t know what else to say,” owner Joseph Carpinone told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
But many were saved.
The SPCA joined first responders, pulling cages from the store.
Loyal customers had called 911 as flames and smoke poured from the local landmark, which has been there since 1971.
“We just fixed the whole front of the store up last year, because someone crashed through our front window last year, and now this happens,” owner Linda Carpinone said.
The owners said multiple birds, fish, reptiles and small animals, like guinea pigs and hamsters, were unaccounted for.
“We’ve lost our pets. Our cat survived, she’s getting oxygen right now,” said Karen Bieler, who has worked at the store for 18 years.
The road was closed for hours in both directions. The strip mall is also home to a dry cleaner, restaurant and paint store.
“You’ve got one, two, three, four businesses inside. The fire did spread a little bit to all of them,” Assistant Fire Chief Max Mayzus said.
“I was in Farmingdale getting fish for the store, and they said, ‘the store’s on fire.’ So I rushed back as soon as I could. They don’t even know the cause yet,” said owner Joseph Carpinone.
The fire marshal said it does not appear to be suspicious.
“It’s difficult when you see a tragedy like this happen and animals are affected. That is why we are all working together as quickly as possible to get these animals seen, and treated and helped,” Suffolk County SPCA Officer Jennifer Pape said.
Volunteers would not leave until every rescued animal had a temporary home.