Five people escaped from a fast-moving house fire that killed at least two cats in northwest Las Vegas early Thursday.
Las Vegas firefighters were called to the blaze at 7136 Junction Village Ave., near Tenaya Way and Craig Road, at 6:42 a.m. Firefighters arrived and found the occupants going in and out of the home, attempting to rescue pets from the single-story structure.
“They were in there trying to rescue the cats,” Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said at the scene. “The fire was quickly knocked down. The victims have soot all over their faces and arms and clothes.”
Firefighters confirmed everyone was out of the home safely and then started rescuing multiple cats. The felines were brought to firefighters Christopher Hyink and Toby Brown, who put oxygen masks over the cats’ faces to resuscitate and treat them.
“We’ve been able to rescue hundreds of animals,” Hyink said of the pet oxygen masks. “Just putting a simple oxygen mask on them can really resuscitate them.”
Brown said he tended to two cats named Buster and Maryann. Both survived after getting oxygen from the firefighters.
“When they are in a fire like that, it’s important they get the oxygen as quickly as possible,” Brown said. “Some people may say they are just cats, but to these people they are their whole lives.”
Szymanski said there were 11 cats in the house at the time of the fire. At least two died. Several were rescued, and two more were observed running down the street.
The fire was caused by careless smoking in a bedroom, Szymanski said. Damage was estimated at $75,000.