Husband and wife escape unharmed
Close to half a dozen cats died in a residential fire this morning, Jan. 26, while their owners and two other felines and a dog were able to flee from the structure.
"The dog was the first out," said Mike Traeger, battalion chief with Gresham Fire and Emergency Services.
The homeowners, a husband and wife, escaped unharmed. The husband, a Vietnam veteran, was overwhelmed by the situation and taken to the hospital, Traeger said.
Gresham fire was called out to the house at 2058 S.E. 17th St. at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Trager said the back of the two-story house was "fully involved" by the fire and smoke was visible for miles.
The fire marshal has not yet determined the cause of the fire.
Crews cut a hole in the roof to let the hot air out but Traeger said the first floor of the house is probably habitable.
Complicating matters is that the fire damaged the natural gas meter and natural gas was flowing into the house, feeding the fire.
When the fire was fully extinguished, crews were digging through the rubble and another cat jumped out from underneath some debris and ran away.
Traeger said Red Cross is on the scene providing aid and support. There was no damage to surrounding properties.