Just after noon Wednesday, firefighters were called to the Payson PetSmart for reports of smoke in the store.
Groomer Lacey Brownell said she saw smoke coming out of the vents in the grooming area and grabbed two dogs while groomer Asia Bishop grabbed two other dogs.
The women waited outside with other employees and customers as firefighters determined a cause.
Firefighters found several belts had broken in an air conditioning unit, causing smoke, which ended up in the ventilation system.
A contractor is fixing the problem.
There was minimal damage and no one was injured, although it gave Brownell quite a scare.
The pet store held its grand opening ceremony in March last year, one of the latest big-box retailers to join the Rim Country Mall.