published Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Dozens of cats die in East Brainerd blaze

Dozens of cats perished in a house fire early this morning in East Brainerd, though the homeowners got out safely, authorities said.

The fire at 1106 Elaine Trail was reported shortly after 1 a.m., Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said in a news release.

A couple and their two sons escaped the blaze but firefighters stumbled over piles of stuff and as many as 50 cats as they went in to battle the blaze, Garner said. It took 30 to 45 minutes to get the fire out.

Cap. Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division said there were at least 50 cats in the house, with about two-thirds of them dead or dying as a result of the fire, the release stated. The house was also hard to get through for all the clutter, and cat fecal matter was everywhere, the release stated.

Moore said the McKamey Animal Center was called in to handle the cats. The displaced family was reportedly staying with relatives. Moore said the fire has been ruled accidental, most likely from an electrical malfunction.

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