It was the cutest rescue in FDNY history.
Firefighters rescued 46 precious little dogs and 2 adorable cats to safety Tuesday afternoon after a smoldering fire inside an air conditioning duct spread thick smoke into an Upper East Side kennel.
The blaze broke out a few minutes after 1 p.m. in the American Kennels outlet on Lexington Ave. near E. 62nd St., the FDNY said.
Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke and elevated carbon dioxide levels, and assisted store workers in removing the charming little critters from the store for their safety.
Anna Radz, 41, who called 911 and took video of the puppies in the store’s front window, blamed the store’s manager and employees for not evacuating the dogs as the building filled with smoke.
She first noticed the smoke while looking at a Goldendoodle pup in the window, and when she asked employees, they told her the smoke came from construction work upstairs.
She then asked a man she believed was either the owner or manager why they didn’t remove the dogs, she recounted.
“He told me to shut up…He gave me the middle finger and started to approach me,” she said, but an employee told him to be quiet.
The dogs remained in the building for about 40 minutes, Radz said.
“Those dogs were trying to get out. The dogs were circling around, which means they were in distress,” she said. “The worst of the smoke was in the back and that’s where most of the dogs were and they were very small so I’m sure they are going to be sick.”
Engine 39, Engine 8, Ladder 16, Ladder 13 and Engine 44 were involved in the rescue effort.
The business will probably remain closed for some time due to smoke and water damage.
American Kennels officials could not immediately be reached for comment.