CHICAGO
05/21/2012 01:23 pm ET Updated May 21, 2012

Happyland Pet Center Fire: Dozens Of Animals Killed In Blaze

A massive fire at a pet store in northern Illinois Sunday night reportedly killed all the animals inside.

Firefighters were called to the scene at Happyland Pet Center in Beach Park, Ill., just after 6 a.m., and found the two-story building ablaze, according to the Daily Herald. During an initial rescue focused on the second floor residences, firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire, and eventually went into "defense mode," Beach Park Fire Chief Paul Tierney told the newspaper.

About 75 firefighters from 15 surrounding communities including Waukegan, Zion and Newport were called to the scene after a water supply issue slowed firefighting efforts, Tierney told the Chicago Tribune.

Longtime Happyland employee Gerri Reid of Zion told the Lake County Sun that the store was "fortunate we sold the last puppy yesterday," but said that a number of small animals -- including dozens of snakes, hamsters, fish, birds and other pets -- didn't survive.

Store owners Nancy and Mike Zobrist, who live above the pet shop with their daughter Kristina, were out of town when the fire broke out, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

This is our house and our business. We lost it all,” Kristina Zobrist told the newspaper.

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