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Firefighters rescue cats from house fire in Derry Township

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Monday, Feb. 6, 2012

Four Persian cats were pulled from a house fire on Saturday in Derry Township, and three of them were revived with pet oxygen masks donated to the department in July.

Bradenville fire Chief Mark Piantine said the homeowners at 802 W. Sixth Ave. had returned home from grocery shopping about 4:50 p.m. to the fire. Joe and Rita Haas told firefighters of the long-haired cats inside, and when crews located the animals, at least one of them was in bad shape, Piantine said.

"It was barely breathing when we brought it out," he said.

All of the pets were alive and well on Sunday morning. Piantine said Joe Haas was transported to Excela Health Latrobe hospital for observation and has since been released. The couple are being assisted by the Red Cross.

The pair live on the second floor of the building, and a hair salon belonging to Rita Haas is on the ground level, Piantine said. Damage is estimated at about $30,000.

"The whole kitchen was filled with smoke," the chief said.

The fire is believed to have originated from a microwave, Piantine said. Bradenville firefighters were holding the department's annual fundraiser at the time of the call that was handled by neighboring companies, said Piantine, who responded to the blaze.

"Everybody else stayed at the fire hall," he said.

Saturday marked the second time that firefighters with the Bradenville-based township fire department have used the pet oxygen masks to treat smoke inhalation. On Sept. 26, three cats were saved by the specially sized masks after they and several other animals were rescued from a house fire in New Derry.

The Pittsburgh dealership of Invisible Fence donated an animal rescue oxygen kit to the department at July's Derry Township Agricultural Fair. The kit contains three masks that can be used for small, medium or large pets.

At the time of the donation, Piantine said that if the masks save one pet in the township, they will have served their purpose.

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