Nearly 20 cats were killed inside a Berlin home after it caught fire early Thursday morning.
Emergency crews said the homeowner was able to escape the fast-moving fire, but she and firefighters were not able to save nearly 20 cats and two birds that perished inside.
The fire was reported by a neighbor around 1:30 a.m.
"It was scary," said neighbor Marisol Arroyo. "I heard screaming and called 911. It was intense."
It total, 26 cats, two birds and a dog were inside when the fire broke out, which quickly consumed the entire home, killing 18 of the cats.
"I never knew she had that many cats," Arroyo said. "That was a surprise to me."
With the fire out, investigators concentrated on the mud room, connecting the house to the garage. They were focusing on what looked like to be a number of animal cages.
Firefighters provided oxygen to a number of cats in an attempt to save them, and the seven that survived are currently at the town's shelter.
One cat remains missing.
Some of them are covered with ash from the smoke as well as burns.
The dog was rescued as well.
The town's animal control officer said the cats looked well and seemed to be well fed and healthy. She said the town doesn't have an ordinance limiting the number of cats a person can have, and said they've never received a complaint about the animals at the home.
"To own that many animals and have them vetted and feed them regularly costs an exorbitant amount of money," said Animal Control Officer Jane Lund.
The animals will be checked out by a veterinarian.
After talking with the homeowner, officials told Eyewitness News that they believe that the fire may have started in the mud room.
In the mud room, there were electric heaters to the keep the birds warm and comfortable and officials believe it started as an electrical fire.
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