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Kitty credited with saving woman in fire

An Oak Harbor resident may owe her life to a cat.

A kitty saved the sleeping woman from a fire that started in a Christmas tree early in the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 12.

Mick Lamar, chief of the north division of Fire District 2, said the young resident of the mobile home in the Thunderbird Mobile Home Park, located just north of Oak Harbor, was awakened at about 3 a.m. by one of her cats.

She saw flames and smoke, so she escaped by crawling out her bedroom window with the cat. She went to a neighbor’s home and called 911.

A deputy from the Island County Sheriff’s Office was the first responder on the scene. Lamar said the deputy used a garden hose on the fire and was able to keep it from spreading further.

The woman’s other cat also managed to jump out a window to escape. Firefighters arrived soon after and were able to put out the blaze quickly.

While fires in mobile homes are usually very dangerous, Lamar said the blaze didn’t spread quickly throughout the modern mobile home because it has drywall instead of the death-be-sure paneling that’s on older models.

Lamar said the home was damaged from the fire and smoke, but the deputy and firefighters were able to save it from being a total loss.

“It’s not hospitable,” he said, “but they did not lose everything.”

Fortunately, the mobile home was insured for fire. The Navy contacted the woman’s husband, who was away on deployment.

Lamar said the fire started in the Christmas tree, but he’s not sure how. The resident left the Christmas lights on overnight. It could have been a short in the lights, an overload in a circuit or maybe the cats knocked it over and caused an electrical problem.

According to Lamar, the holiday season is a notorious time of the year for house fires. There’s all those Christmas lights, the overused outlets and the flammable Christmas trees that are slowly drying out. Lamar said he’s also worried about the potential of danger from candles. Residents are lighting lots of candles with the regular wintertime power outages.

Lamar said his best fire-prevention advise for residents is to check to make certain all smoke detectors are working, don’t overburden outlets and turn off lights before going to bed.

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