A specially designed feline oxygen mask was instrumental in saving the life of a cat caught up in a house fire this week.
Firefighters responded to a heavy fire at 19 Leetes Island Road, Paved Lane Trailer Park, on Tuesday afternoon after the occupant called 911 to report a fire coming from behind the furnace. The occupants were trying to save their three cats but had to leave the house due to heavy smoke.
The fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished before it could spread beyond the home. The father and daughter who lived in the home lost most of their belongings just one day after Christmas; they are staying with a relative. There were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters. The home has been deemed uninhabitable by the building department.
In fighting the fire, Paramedic Mike Olejarczyk located one of the cats, which was unconscious and brought it outside. A second cat was removed unharmed from the attached porch and a third escaped, but remains unaccounted for.
Firefighter Paramedic Tim Kahre and Deputy Chief Timothy Judd worked to revive the rescued cat.
The rescued cat was revived using the feline oxygen mask. While not used frequently, pet oxygen masks are an integral part of the department’s toolbox. Their use in Branford goes back to 2005 when the fire department received several specially designed pet oxygen masks from Best Friends Pet Care in Norwalk. The mask was used for the first time in 2007 when resuscitating a dog at a fire in a storage unit on Cedar Street.
In July, the department received three new masks from at-home pet services provider Canine Company of Wilton in an effort coordinated by Dan Cosgrove Shelter Director Laura Burban. The company also provides free “Pets Inside” decals that families can place on a front door or window.
The masks are designed to fit an animal’s snout and come in three sizes, from small mammals to large breed dogs. They can be hooked up to a firefighter’s standard oxygen tank.
The missing cat is white with black spots. If she is seen, call the Cosgrove Shelter at 203-315-4125.