Woman escapes Germantown house fire, but 11 of her 41 cats die

A West Germantown woman and her clan of cats escaped from the flames of a Manheim Street house fire Thursday evening.

Executive Fire Chief Richard Davison said the fire erupted at 5:58 p.m. at a three-story home on the 100 block of West Manheim Street.  It was contained less than 20 minutes later.

Firefighters observed “heavy fire” on the first floor upon arriving, he said.

The American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania responded to the scene and is offering the woman assistance. Animal Control was also called out after a number of cats were discovered inside.

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Brian Abernathy, of the city’s Managing Director’s Office, said a total of 41 cats were removed from the burned-out home, but that 11 died as a result of the incident. The surviving cats are recovering at Animal Control and are ready to be adopted, he said.

On Friday morning, the woman’s son was sifting through the wreckage. He said he was there to retrieve any salvageable photographs or anything else of sentimental value. 

“All she had was the clothes on her back” when she left, Steve Evans said, adding that his mother is currently staying with him in Chester County.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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