Dozens of cats die in fire at NJ animal rescue house

January 25, 2011 3:16:46 PM PST
A fast-moving fire in the home of a local Wayne animal rescuer killed as many as 60 cats late Monday.

Firefighters responded to the home on Piermont Terrace just before 9 p.m. knowing that dozens of animals lived inside.

Heavy fire quickly burned from the basement through the second floor of the home.

The homeowner was able to escape without injury, but the 66-year-old woman was only able to save a few of the cats. Responding firefighters were unable to retrieve the large number of cages that were housing the rest.

The fire apparently began in the basement and quickly spread to the kitchen area and second flood. It appears a faulty light fixture may have lead to the blaze. Neighbors say the smoke was too thick to rescue the cats trapped in the home.

Neighbors say they knew the family living in the house was associated with a local cat rescue operation. (Known as FOWA, or Friends of Wayne Animals). But they were never sure how many cats lived in the house.

The woman who lived in the home, who worked hard to find homes for the animals, said the cats were like members of her family.