COWICHE, WASHINGTON. — With Tuesday’s blaze at a mobile home in Cowiche now under control, firefighters searched for hidden hotspots as the owners salvaged the little bit of what they could.
And just then, a faint meow as a calico cat crawled out of the smoking rubble of the completely ruined trailer.
That in and of itself makes Simona a miracle of sorts.
More than half a million pets are affected by house fires each and every year, according to the American Kennel Club, and far too often, firefighters do find them, but too late.
But even more impressive is Simona’s fierce fighting spirit — or sheer determination to take advantage of every single one of her nine lives.
Simona was rescued from rubble in Iraq by an American solider approximately 10 years ago, according to her owner, Charles Bush.
He explained to firefighters that a pet rescue organization arranged to fly Simona home to Tri-Cities for the soldier. When the soldier moved into a place that simply wouldn’t allow cats, Bush and the woman who owned the Cowiche trailer decided to take her in, stated Carol Roth, a volunteer firefighter for Naches.
Along with West Valley and Naches Heights firefighters and a crew support vehicle from Selah, Roth was among Naches volunteers who assisted the Highland Fire Department in battling the blaze.
The fire was reported at around 12:30 p.m. in a mobile home complex at 16981 Summitview Road.
Chief Sam Glanzer of the Highland Fire Department stated he arrived to find flames coming from the front door and window.
Bush and the owner of the trailer caught sight of fire coming from behind a couch and then safely left the home, Glanzer stated on Tuesday.
Glanzer claims the cause of the fire was unclear. The Yakima County fire marshal’s office was called to investigate.
Damage was estimated to be between $20,000 and $30,000.
Roth was standing down and other firefighters were mopping up when she heard someone calling, “Here, kitty, kitty” from the other side of the trailer.
“I dashed around the corner and there’s this cat coming out from under the foundation of a house that had been completely involved,” Roth stated.
Simona was panting frantically after emerging from underneath a bedroom, prompting West Valley firefighter Leif Pray to be able to use a pet oxygen mask for the first time in his five years with the department.
Although she wasn’t at all burned, Simona was panting and from a human EMT perspective, in respiratory distress, Roth stated. She likely suffered from some smoke inhalation and exposure to intense heat.
“She wasn’t all there. She was panting really hard,” Pray explained of Simona. He did administer oxygen as Bush held her.
After “quite a few minutes,” Simona jumped out of Bush’s arms and ran right under a car, Pray described. She was still there when firefighters left, Roth said.
“You could tell she was feeling a lot better,” Pray stated.
Firefighters had heard there were cats inside the trailer but somehow expected the worst.
“A lot of the time, by the time we get there … it was too much smoke inhalation or they didn’t make it out,” Pray stated.
Yakima County fire departments have had pet masks for a handful of years now, thanks to a grant, Roth stated. Firefighters have rescued just a few animals in that time, including a rooster.
Pray was very happy to help save a pet and such a storied one at that.
“It’s a pretty crazy story. … Her owner said she had been a world traveler,” Pray stated.
Our question here at The Best Cat Page is just how many of her 9 lives are left now?