A woman's two cats are being credited with waking her up after her smoke alarm didn't go off during a fire at her Bath home early Tuesday morning.
BATH | A woman’s two cats are being credited with waking her up and possibly saving her life after her smoke alarm didn’t go off during a fire at her Bath home early Tuesday morning.
The Bath Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to Elizabeth Hopkins’ home at 12 Gratton Drive in the village around 1:30 a.m., according to John Conrad Sr., second assistant chief and public information officer for the fire department.
When Bath police officers arrived at the home, they saw smoke coming from the eaves, went inside and saw the ceiling tiles in the hallway smoldering, Conrad Sr. said.
Bath Fire Chief Joe Washburn then arrived and called for a fire engine from the Bath VA.
Firefighters opened the outside peak vent, and went inside and pulled down the ceiling in the hallway to find a fire slowly burning across the crawl space in the ceiling, impeded by blown-in insulation, Conrad Sr. said.
The fire was doused, and the damage was contained to the hallway ceiling and a bedroom which had light water and smoke damage, he said.
The Steuben County Fire Investigation Team determined the fire was caused by a lone electrical wire in the ceiling.
Hopkins’ cats came into her bedroom and woke her up, Conrad Sr. said. The smoke alarm hadn’t gone off because the smoke was being drafted up and out through the peak vent - much like a chimney - preventing it from coming down into the hallway and bedroom, he said.
Hopkins has two cats, an older male named Leo and a young female cat named Molly, she told The Leader.
“The older cat woke me up and thank God he did, because I was in a bedroom where I would have been trapped, I’d have to have gone out a window,” she said. “It definitely could have been worse, because I’m on medication from an operation I had to make me sleep, so that cat, if it hadn’t done that, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Leo actually woke Hopkins up, but the other cat was also next to her and also seemed to know something was going on, she said.
She smelled something burning and went to look, thinking maybe she’d left a scented candle burning. But then felt heat in the hallway ceiling, she said.
“I called 911, and they told me to get out of the house,” Hopkins said. “I said,’I gotta get my cats first.’ But they said ‘No, get out of the house.” But they found the cats later in the house. They were hiding.”
Hopkins said the Bath police and fire were “absolutely excellent, very caring for me.” She said she’s already working with her insurance company and hopes to get the damage cleaned up in time to host her family Christmas as she’d planned.