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911 call saves home of couple, 27 cats

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Jan 18, 2007 at 11:12 AM

GATE CITY - A man, a woman and 27 cats were almost burned out of house and home Thursday morning, when a fire started in the basement of the home of Dr. Garry and Diane Grau at 157 Cleveland St.

A neighbor made the call to 911 and firefighters were called to the three-story house at about 8 a.m. where smoke was coming from the basement, said Gate City Fire Department Lt. Lee McMurray.

Weber City firefighters helped douse the fire which did minor damage, McMurray said. There was smoke damage in the basement and some on the main floor, he said.

To ensure the fire would not reignite, Sgt. James Byrd said they pulled insulation and ductwork out of the home.

"The fire had started to travel through the ducts," McMurray said.

McMurray said the fire appeared to have started in the house's electrical system.

"We're not sure if it was a short in the panel, or what," he said.

Although there was little damage done to the living area of the home, McMurray said it might be a day or two before the residents feel comfortable moving back in.

Electrical and heating system work will need to be done, he said.

"The couple were running a shelter of sorts for these cats which had been abandoned," McMurray said.

Two of the cats died of smoke inhalation and another was burned, according to a neighbor.

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