Cats Owe Lives to Pa. Medics, Firefighters

June 25--A joint effort by firefighters and medics saved the lives of more than half-a-dozen cats during a house fire in Fairview Township on Tuesday.

The seven cats, a dog and two ferrets were inside the home in the 100 block of Fisher Road when it went up in flames about 2:50 p.m.

The first arriving Fairview Township firefighters pulled the animals from the home and took the cats, some of which were unresponsive, to township paramedics, said Chris Weidenhammer, township fire chief.

Hollie Hawkins said she, along with fellow paramedics Steph Keim, Mike McDole and EMS chief Jeremy Maugans were able to resuscitate the lethargic cats using oxygen masks normally used on humans.

"It was pretty impressive to see," Weidenhammer said.

Alert Fire Co. volunteer Logan Rothermel, 17, who happened to be in there and responded to the call, also aided in reviving the cats.

Like family: Hawkins, who said she's revived animals in a similar fashion once or twice before, said the cats were then loaded into an air conditioned car to cool them down. From there, they were put in another car, this one owned by a resident of the house, and carted off to a veterinarian.

"Here's what we thought: They (the residents) lost their house. Let's save their family," she said. "It doesn't matter if they have two legs or four, they are all family."

The dog and two ferrets found inside the home did not need medical attention and were in good health. An eighth cat also lived in the house, but it's not clear what happened to it, Weidenhammer said.

"It may have ran off," he said.

A resident of the house also sought medical treatment after suffering a stress-related issue at the scene, the chief said. The resident was taken to an area hospital.

The fire: Crews were sent to the rural house after one of two residents, along with numerous other people, called 911 to report the blaze.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames coming from the house. It took firefighters about an hour-and-a-half to get the fire under control because of the amount of belongings inside the home, Weidenhammer said.

The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross said it is helping the three adults left homeless by the blaze, providing them with food, clothing, shelter and follow-up disaster needs.

The house is a total loss with damage is estimated at $150,000. A state police fire marshal will investigate, but Weidenhamer said the blaze doesn't appear to be suspicious.

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To help people affected by disasters such as fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, send contributions to the American Red Cross, 724 S. George St., York 17401.

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