BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Crews battled a fire that destroyed a longtime feed and garden store in downtown Bellingham Monday morning.
The fire started at Hohl Pet & Garden on Railroad Avenue at about 4 a.m.
Firefighters said when they arrived, the second floor was engulfed in flames and they were unable to access it because of dangerous conditions.
Bellingham police say firefighters saved the small animals inside the building. Whatcom Humane responded to help shelter them.
At 8:30 a.m., flames started shooting out of the roof, which had collapsed, again.
"There's lots of concealed spaces within the building, and then the fact that we were not able to make it safely into the building makes it even harder to find fire in those concealed spaces," Bellingham Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hewett.
Hewett said one section of the building is over 100 years old, and the old construction created pockets of the air that fed the fire.
A KIRO 7 News crews saw flaming debris rain down inside the building around 8:30 a.m.
"The fire flared up, came through the roof. Obviously, it had been trapped in a concealed space for a while and just came through," said Hewett.
The firewalls prevented the flames from spreading to adjacent businesses.
No one was hurt.
The business, which has been operating in Whatcom County since 1901 when it was Hohl Feed & Seed, is a total loss. The store sold pet supplies, feed, seeds and garden supplies as well as some small animals.
Fire investigators say the cause of the flames may not be known for days.
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