Chattanooga firefighters responded to a house fire shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday at 1106 Elaine Trail in East Brainerd. The fire was in a two-story house, rented out to a couple and their two sons. All four made it out of the house safely as firefighters began to arrive.
Battalion Chief Steve Swanson said that as the firefighters made their way inside, their way was obstructed by large amounts of stuff and dozens of cats. The firefighters managed to locate the fire, and eventually got it under control in 30 to 45 minutes. The loss was estimated at around $90,000.
Captain 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 house was also hard to get through for all the clutter, and cat fecal matter was everywhere, it was reported.
Captain Moore said the McKamey Animal Center was called in to handle the cats. The displaced family was reportedly staying with relatives. Captain Moore said the cause of the fire has been ruled accidental, most likely from an electrical malfunction.
Chattanooga Police and Hamilton County EMS also provided assistance.