Sandy LaPierre, cat owner, told Paw Nation, “When my landlord Dennie Fitzgerald kicked the door down, it scared Smoka and she panicked and ran under the bed.” The year-and-a-half-old cat, Smoka, who had her name long before the fire, has been with LaPierre since she was a six-week old kitten.
According to Fitzgerald, the building, constructed in 1890 with solid oak beams, burned for six hours and collapsed. “Five gas lines erupted,” he said. “The fire department had to use 30,000 gallons of water on it to put the fire out.”
“I thought she was gone,” LaPierre said of her cat. “I couldn’t hardly eat or sleep. I had people out looking for her.”
Nothing, it seemed, could have survived a fire of that magnitude.
But 26 days later on September 4th, workers from Stark Wrecking Company were sifting through the rubble, when they made a stunning discovery, reports the Middletown Journal. “I was running the backhoe,” Clarence Witte recounted to Paw Nation, “when my cousin hollered that there was a cat. I figured it was a burnt, dead cat, but I looked out the window and saw the cat’s eyes, which were just as big as saucers.” The cat had been buried under 16 feet of debris and was lying still. “That backhoe weighs 40,000 pounds, so I don’t how why it didn’t get squished,” Witte said.
Working carefully by hand, workers dug the cat out and laid it on top of the rubble. “Its body was stiff,” said Witte. “The only thing moving was its head.” But the cat started “limbering up” and began moving around. Workers called Fitzgerald, who had an employee take Smoka away in a pet carrier, then called LaPierre.
“I dropped everything when Dennie [Fitzgerald] called and I went down to see her,” LaPierre said. “It was incredible. I cried when I saw her. Smoka heard my voice and started meowing.”
via David Wilson