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Posted: 6:12 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, 2013
KTVU and Wires
SAN JOSE, Calif. —
A woman was rescued from a fenced-in backyard patio but nearly 100 pet cats perished Tuesday in an early morning one-alarm house fire in San Jose, authorities said.
San Jose Fire Capt. Reggie Williams said the blaze was reported at 1:43 a.m. in a home in the 6900 block of Polvadero Drive near Santa Teresa County Park.
“She (Carole Miller) was sleeping in the front room when the dog’s barking woke her up,” he said. “She went to the back of the house and saw her bedroom was on fire. “
Miller said she was awaken by her dog Bunny and headed to the rear of the home to be confronted by flames. She escaped the house into a fenced-in patio used to give outdoor access to her cats.
Williams said the woman owed her life to her dog.
“Tonight a lot of things went in her favor,” he said. “Had the dog not woke her up, she may not have been able to get out of this fire.”
Williams said the firefighters also were hindered in battling the fire by more than 100 cats that were in the home.
“There were multiple, multiple animals we had to get over to fight the fire,” he said. “I’ve never witnessed this many animals in a single home…There were more than 100 cats. “
Animal control officers were also on the scene and Williams said only 5-6 cats survived the blaze.
Miller said she operates cat rescue “colonies” in the South Bay and at Stanford. She was emotionally shaken as she stood outside the heavily damaged home.
“I’m just stunned,” she said. “I’m stunned at the fear and suffering of my animals…. They are my life… This is my worst nightmare.”
Williams said the home suffered major damage to the rear and that the blaze had spread to the attic before it was extinguished. A cause had yet to be determined.
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