Hours after a fire destroyed a family-owned metal casting business in Boyle Heights Sunday, the building’s guard dog was found at a local shelter and reunited with its distraught owners.
Police officers who were on patrol in the 1400 block of South Lorena Street (map) at 2:40 a.m. noticed flames at the Barrios Casting Company, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The officers summoned firefighters, who forced their way through security gates and rolling steel doors to reach the single-story masonry building, the release said.
Part of the roof collapsed almost immediately after the firefight began.
“The firefighters were on the roof, they were working the back side, cutting it. They heard a cracking sound, so they went to a different part of the roof and they worked off that,” said LAFD Battalion Chief Jamie Lesinski. “That’s when we noticed one of the walls was cracking, so we pulled everybody off” and shifted to a defensive posture, he said.
It took 92 firefighters 61 minutes to knock down the blaze. The fire was contained to the 7,200-square-foot building where it originated, preventing damage to two adjoining businesses, the Fire Department said.
Donicia Barrios, the granddaughter of the man who started the metal casting business over 40 years ago, said she was in shock when she first saw the building, which officials said was a total loss.
“This business has been around longer than I have,” she said. “It's something that's so near and dear to your heart and your livelihood and your parents livelihood. You can only just hope that you can come out of this OK.”
Before the flames were extinguished the Barrios family believed their registered security dog, Lucky, had been inside during the fire and likely died as a result.
After officials determined Lucky was not inside the scorched building, a family friend called local shelters and located the dog at the North Central Animal Shelter.
“He's a wonderful dog … he wouldn't hurt a fly and he's super smart and silly and goofy,” Barrios said. “We’re just glad nobody got hurt, the dog is OK. That's most important.”
Officials were calculating the financial cost of the damages to the casting firm. The cause of the fire was under investigation and it was not known how Lucky got to the animal shelter.