Three people and nearly two dozen cats were rescued from a burning home in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on Sunday, while nearly three dozen more cats died in the fire.
Firefighters responded to a 2-family home on County Street around 9:30 a.m., where they found three tenants still inside and sixty cats in what appears to be a hoarding situation, according to WJAR.
A man in an attic apartment and two women in a second-floor apartment, all described as being in their 50s, were taken to area hospitals in serious condition for smoke inhalation. All are expected to be okay, the fire chief told WJAR.
Fire crews were able to rescue 26 cats, while 34 more cats died. The cats that were rescued were treated with oxygen masks outside the home.
“They were doing CPR and everything on the cats," neighbor Stacy Tinkham told WJAR. "They were trying to save as many of them as they could.”
Neighbors were concerned the flames would spread to adjacent homes, but firefighters were able to keep it contained.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
“I kept watching, you know? I thought for sure - because at one point the flames were going towards my house and I just count my blessings that the wind wasn’t blowing that way,” Tinkham told WJAR.
Animal Control took the cats that survived to local veterinarians for care. It's not immediately clear what will happen to them next.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.