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Columbus firefighters rescue trapped adults, pets from apartment fire

Two adults and their pet cats were in a second-floor apartment and the only exit had heavy flames.
Credit: Columbus Fire Department
Columbus firefighter Samantha Smith attends to five kittens after rescuing them from a second-floor apartment fire.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A man, woman, and five kittens are safe after Columbus firefighters rescued them from a second-floor apartment Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to the fire at Eighth and Reed streets around 8:15 a.m. Columbus Police officers who were already on the scene told firefighters two adults were in a window on the second floor and the only exit was in heavy flames.

Firefighters were able to get the man and woman out from the window. Neither of them were injured.

As fire crews continued to put out the fire and search the apartment, they found 8 cats inside — three adults and five kittens. Columbus Regional Health Emergency Medical Service gave the cats oxygen, and they are doing well.

Richard Burton, the man firefighters rescued, told investigators he could smell smoke in the apartment but couldn't find the source of it. He opened the door to the patio area and saw flames outside. That's when the woman called 911. Burton said the flames were too large to go out the door, so he and the woman shut themselves inside the bedroom and closed the door to the bathroom where several of the cats were. Firefighters believe closing those doors helped keep both the humans and cats alive.

Credit: Columbus Fire Department
A fire caused an estimated $90,000 worth of damage to a Columbus apartment on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

The fire caused extensive damage to the apartment, including to the attic, roof, staircase and patio area. There was also water damage in an unoccupied apartment on the first floor. The total damage is estimated to be $90,000.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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