CROWN POINT | Staff at the Lake County Sheriff's Animal Adoption and Control Center and residents from the Sheriff's Work Release Program evacuated 28 dogs and 26 cats from the animal shelter Monday after the building's fire alarms went off, officials said.

The fire alarms sounded about 9:45 a.m. and smoke was seen coming from the roof, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department.

Crown Point Fire Rescue responded, and shelter Director Debbie Mandich-Nowland contacted the work release program for help. Work release staff responded in minutes, transporting about 20 residents to the shelter, the release said.

Shelter staff and work release residents evacuated all animals from the building.

The cause of the smoke apparently was caused by an air-conditioning system, the release said.

All work release residents were accounted for after the situation was resolved, the release said.

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Public safety reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.