A New Jersey police officer is being treated for smoke inhalation after a selfless effort to rescue birds, gerbils, dogs, cats, and a chinchilla from a burning pet store. No animals were injured thanks to the rescue effort by police officers, firefighters, and volunteers, the Star-Ledger reports. "It was organized chaos. Everybody had a job," a passing motorist who aided rescuers tells WABC. "Everybody was doing a job. Animal people come together very quickly when it comes to a rescue situation as people know what to do."
The injured officer, who was running in and out of the store and putting animals in his car, will be fine, a police spokesman says. The animals are being cared for at a local animal hospital, where a veterinarian says the swift rescue definitely saved lives. "Especially the birds, they're extremely sensitive to things in the air, even a little bit of smoke inhalation and it could be very fatal, so luckily they got them out quickly and got them to fresh air and out of the cold as well," he says.