TROY, N.Y. –A house fire Monday evening led to the discovery of least 25 cats living at 40 Maple Street in Troy.
Officials say that as of Tuesday morning, there are still animals inside the home. Animal Control responded to the home and removed some of the cats, but could not remove them all. The fire chief believes at least 25 cats were found.
The chief also described the situation as hoarding. A few cages with food were found in the home, but officials say the animals will need medical attention.
First responders say they had a hard time convincing the elderly homeowner to evacuate the property; she was upset about her cats and did not want to leave them behind.
Another challenge for firefighters was the clutter in the house, making it difficult to get inside the home to put out the fire.
Before fire crews got to the scene, neighbor Carla Rinaldi was driving by and jumped out of her car to help.
"I got out and started knocking on the door. She answered the door, but she stepped back," she said.
Troy and Cohoes Animal Control continued to remove the cats on Tuesday. They were able to remove six cats found on the first floor and are currently checking the attic and basement. A total of 15 cats were removed on Monday after the fire and officials believe the owner came back to the home overnight to remove some herself.
"I can't even begin to tell you what I saw when I went in there. Feces, filth, objects piled everywhere. It wasn't just clutter, it was filth," said Rinaldi.
An investigation revealed that the cause of the fire was accidental. Officials say the fire started in the attic when water leaked through the roof and got to wires, causing the blaze.
There were no injuries as a result of the fire.
The American Red Cross is assisting the homeowner. Officials said it would be safe for the animals to stay in the house overnight.
341 Northern Blvd., Albany, NY 12204
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