Offbeat Video

By Luke Kenton & Andrew Kao

Police in California had just minutes to rescue 60 cats and dogs from a local animal shelter, as advancing wildfires threatened to ravish the area.

When a violent wildfire started in Solano County, California, USA, on August 10, Vacaville Police Department were given just minutes to react, after a sudden gust of wind threatened to engulf an entire animal shelter.

With the fire having already burned through 2,162 acres of land, officer Carly Stone and three of her colleagues raced to SPCA Rescue Centre at 6:30 pm, determined to prevent any loses of life.

Captured from the body cam of Stone, the officer can be seen ushering cats into cage and hauling leashes around the necks of dogs, before placing them safely in her squad car, smoke continuing to rise in the background.

Managing to rescue all 60 occupants during the improvised rescue, the animals were then placed in temporary foster homes overnight and returned to shelter on Sunday.

The Nelson fire lasted 24 hours before being extinguished by local authorities.

Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, of Vacaville Police, said: “California has had a particularly dry season, meaning we are always susceptible to wildfires – even in suburban areas, rather than forested.

“After a sudden gust of wind changed the fire’s path downhill and towards the SPCA, our officers only had minutes to react.

“We don’t have training for situations like these, the officers just had to improvise – they did an incredible job.

“All of the animals were safely rescued.

“Our firefighters did some incredible work to protect the structure of the building, but the shelter was extremely smoke damaged and lost power too.

“Meaning vaccines and medicines the shelter had been refrigerating for the animals are now destroyed.

“The community response was fantastic – we had dozens show up to foster the animals until the could be returned back to the shelter.

“Amazingly, many of those families have now come forwarded and requested to adopt the animals full time.

“No lives were lost in the fire, but one home and a number of out-houses were destroyed.”