Silverton pet shelter burns down, killing 30 cats, 2 people displaced

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 10:06 AM PST
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SILVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - A Silverton home that operated as a rescue shelter for cats burned Saturday night, killing 30 cats.

Both people who lived in the home managed to get themselves and their dogs out safely.

Fire crews said the home is a total loss with damage upwards to $700,000. Luckily, the home is fully insured.

Meanwhile, Denise Smith, who lives next door to the Silverton Cat Rescue, calls the couple who run the rescue “good people.”

“Good hearted people will try and rescue, but they need other good-hearted people who will take them into their homes and give them love.”

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At least 30 cats are now unable to receive that love following the fire that started around 5:30 p.m.

Smith said, “I looked over and I saw an orange glow through my front window.”

Fearful she might have to evacuate as well, Smith grabbed her own cats and fled to the street without thinking twice.

It’s just because they’re part of the family,” she said. “I couldn’t fathom losing them.”

The aftermath of the two-alarm fire left at least 30% of the rescue burned and took more than 30 responding firefighters to handle.

An investigation ultimately led to evidence pointing at the cause being electrical, which burned hot on the patio. Or the place Smith refers to as the “catio,” because the patio was where the thick of Silverton Cat Rescue was located.

“So, they could get outside and get some fresh air, and not be stuck inside.”

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Smith said she is aware of seven cats that survived, and said others may be scattered around the neighborhood. She said two of those seven cats are at the vet and she is doubtful anymore will be found in the house, acknowledging the gravity of damage.

“I’m just really sad,” she said. “It was just really hard to hear that many were lost. It’s just hard to think about. You go to that much work and you put that much love and attention into animals and then to have something catastrophic happen like that - it’s just horrible. It’s the unpreventable stuff that’s the hardest to deal with.”

The couple living in the home are currently being assisted by the American Red Cross while they deal with this traumatic event.

They have a GoFundMe running to help keep them afloat