STANTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Firefighters rescued hundreds of reptiles at a store in Stanton after a blaze sparked Wednesday evening.
Crews with the Orange County Fire Authority and the Anaheim Fire Department, along with a local rescue group, were able to save the majority of the 600 to 700 reptiles.
But unfortunately not all of the reptiles made it out alive, as some died from smoke inhalation.
"It was scary, because I come here every day. I come here every day to see the animals. I was telling the fireman what animals were on the floor, and there were dogs, and you know to be careful," Desiree Arellano, friend of the reptile store owner said.
After the reptiles were pulled from the building on Beach Boulevard, crews used pet oxygen masks to help many of them breathe.
"They realized these lizards and snakes, some of them were on the loose, but they were trying to save as many as they could, and so they had to bring them outside, the smoke was deadly," Captain Steve Concialdi with the Orange County Fire Authority said.
Once outside though, the animals were again in danger because many of them must be kept in a warm cage.
Employees used whatever they could to keep them out of the cold.
"It was a scramble. So the firefighters, the owners and the reptile rescue group did an outstanding job of saving countless reptiles," Concialdi said.
Investigators said the fire was caused by a malfunction from an electrical outlet in the store's office.
The rescue group said all of the animals are either with the owner or have been temporarily adopted by members of the community.
For firefighters, they said this is a call they won't likely forget for some time.
"We don't normally do this, and we had to make sure we had to be careful with what we grabbed. From the snakes, to the lizards, because the guys didn't want to be bit," Concialdi said.