Dramatic video of the Vacaville Police Department racing into action to help save 60 dogs and cats from a California animal shelter near Sacramento as a fast-moving wildfire approached, has gone viral.
According to a Facebook post from the agency, officers began working with staff and volunteers to get the animals out after the Nelson Fire appeared to be heading for the Solano County SPCA.
"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," the Vacaville Police Department said on its Facebook page. "Our officers worked with Humane Animal Services, SPCA staff and volunteers to evacuate all they could in a race against the clock."
The Nelson Fire scorched more than 2,000 acres along Interstate 80 in Vacaville, coming dangerously close to several homes as it spread across the grassy hillsides.
SPCA officials say some cats were left behind, in a separate building, but were eventually also evacuated from the shelter and brought to safety, the shelter later posted on Facebook.
“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,” the post said. “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 ... two of our staff members were able to be escorted in by the police department to get the remainder of the animals out.”
All 60 animals were placed in temporary foster care. By Sunday, shelter staff were back at the SPCA and began requesting those who had fostered the animals begin returning them that afternoon, according to a Facebook post updating the situation.
The shelter posted on Facebook that they had suffered smoke damage and lost much of the medicine and vaccines they stored at their building due to a power failure. Since then, the shelter has seen an outpouring of help in the form donations which they are accepting on their website.