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Thursday, 01/02/2003 - 06:03 AM PDT
The topic: Help needed in San Diego

Thursday, January 2, 2003 I received the following in my mail yesterday:

13 of my cats were killed in a devastating fire which, also destroyed most of my personal property during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday December 21. I cannot possibly relate to you the amount of grief I have felt for the past 10 days. Each of the 13 cats had his or her special personalities and affections, my oldest, Winnie, had been with me for nearly 8 years. My grieving has been focused only on these precious 13 cats and I have yet to feel the devastating loss of my personal belongings, including all the tools, resources and environment for my occupation which, I performed from the home. Since the fire, I have been unable to produce for lack of my 'tools of the trade' and have consequently lost 2 weeks of income.

3 of my cats survived. Stanley was rescued by a fire- man and given immediate treatment for smoke inhalation and is recovering from 2nd degree burns on 1/6 of his body. His vet bill is $2,000 and increasing. Suzy, his littermate, escaped when I opened the front door and has since, been missing now for 10 days. The neighborhood is excessively urbanized and very densely populated and she is wandering around the neighborhood, traumatized and in extreme fear. She and Stanley were born inside the apartment and were contented with indoor life (no outdoor escapes or wanderings)for their entire 13 months of life.

Finally, Mac somehow miraculously survived the entire ordeal inside the apartment! I discovered him in the burnt out shell of my apartment 3 days after the fire and began trapping efforts. I finally succeeded in trapping him 5 days after the fire and taking him to my vet, where his health was pronounced excellent and he is now being boarded at Grossmont Animal Hospital @ $10/day. I have been fortunate in being temporarily housed by my friends. This arrangement does not permit me to keep both my surviving cats, Stanley and Mac so, Mac must stay at the vet."

I don't know how I will manage my personal finances and therefore, the care of my surviving cats. I have no immediate means of recovering my personal losses. I am anxious to re-unite Stanley and Mac in a safe environment so they can be together again. I am hopeful to recover Suzy and re-unite her with her brothers. I need lots of help and don't know where to start. I want to give the best possible care to the surviving cats and I must also get my business up and running again.


I've contacted Joe and advised him to open a Paypal account, for those who would like to send money. And I'm sure that Grossmont Animal Hospital will take donations to help with the care of Mac (Phone: 619-466-0501 Fax: 619-697-7277). After I make this entry, I'll be contacting the local media.

Now, I've heard from Joe in the past. He was lax on getting his cats fixed and ended up with sixteen. At the time he emailed me for help, his landlord was planning on tearing down the apartments where Joe lived and Joe needed to find a new home for himself and his cats. He asked if I could help with placement. I referred him to a couple of places and he let me know that everything would be okay. I didn't ask how, but I found out yesterday that his landlord had applied for permits and been turned down, so Joe got to keep his home. Until the fire.

13 cats die in apartment fire ignited by unattended stove
The San Diego Union - Tribune; San Diego, Calif.; Dec 22, 2002


Thirteen cats died of smoke inhalation early yesterday in an apartment fire ignited by an unattended stove.

San Diego firefighters used oxygen to revive one cat. Two other cats apparently escaped injury, fire officials said, but they could not be found yesterday.

An adult occupant in the apartment suffered from smoke inhalation, but declined to be taken to a hospital.

The blaze in a two-story apartment complex on Winona Avenue, near Trojan Avenue, was reported about 6 a.m. The first firefighters arrived four minutes later, a San Diego Fire Department dispatcher said. It took 25 firefighters 11 minutes to control the fire.

The blaze caused about $80,000 in damage, fire officials said.

Joe would like foster homes for his cats. He's devastated right now, losing so much. If there is anything you can do to help, please let me know. It's the beginning of a new year, lets start it out right.

So, what else? Hmm...well, we had a pretty quiet New Year's Eve. It was our 17th anniversary, too. Earlier last year, we'd preordered Monsters, Inc at CostCo. It was delivered to our house along with two certificates to a Disney movie, which were to expire on December 31, 2002. We figured we'd use them on New Year's Eve and go see Santa Clause II, which was the only movie playing. Brian worked in the bedroom on the tile most of the day and at 2:40 I checked for play times for the movie. The last show started at 2:30. *sigh* Needless to say, we didn't go to a movie. Right now, we're a little strapped for cash. I don't even want to use the credit cards. Brian hasn't been very busy since mid November, before his trip to Colorado. And if he's not working, there's no money coming in.

But this was the first New Year's Eve that we've actually been awake at midnight. And it was because of the cats. Georgie in particular. When I first thought all of the cats were in, I was watching tv, and I took a head count. I couldn't find Angel. I spent about an hour and a half looking for her, inside, outside, in the rafters, under the sofas, everywhere I could think of. Well, I guess I missed one of the tubes by the entertainment center, because she was sitting right next to it, yawning and stretching. She'd obviously been snoozing there and didn't bother responding to my call. Brian and I started watching television and Georgie started to get wound up. Well, the only thing to do is to put him outside. It was late when he went out, probably about 10:30. I would get him in when I went to bed.

At 11:30, I got up and opened the back door, calling Georgie to come in. He didn't come. I went outside and checked around and didn't see him. I went into the house, got into my sweatpants, grabbed a flashlight and went back outside. I heard the neighbor dog digging at their gate. I went out front and checked around and saw nothing. I went back into our house, back into the yard. I was getting panicked about now, not knowing where George could be. I woke Brian up and he got dressed and went out to help look. We finally found George in the big pvc pipe back by the fence. He wouldn't come out. I guess all of the fireworks had spooked him pretty badly. I ended up turning on the water and squirting water up the pipe and Georgie ran out the end where Brian was waiting. Georgie got past him, but Brian was able to catch up to him and brought him inside. We watched "The Sons of Katie Elder" on AMC, well, I watched for about fifteen minutes and I was asleep. When I woke up, Brian had shut everything off and was in bed. I quickly followed.

I just don't know what to do about the out front cats. This past weekend I hadn't put out enough food so I put out more. The next few nights, we put out more and it didn't get eaten. Last night, I cut back again, only to see the mama cat out there again. I put out more food. And the extra I'd put out, didn't get eaten. There was a considerable amount left this morning. Then I split a can of junk tuna for OC and MeezerKitty this morning and they cleaned the bowls. I guess we should just put out the smaller amount of wet at night and if it's not enough, they can eat the dry that's in the feeder out front. We're just throwing so much food out and right now, we really can't afford to be doing that.

Oh, yeah, speaking of being broke, they called Tuesday and our furniture is in. Brian said to go ahead and call this morning and let them know they can deliver Saturday. The bedroom won't be completely finished but it will be done enough to get furniture in. The closet won't be finished and we'll probably have a blanket up over the window, but we'll have a bed in the bedroom!

Well, I can't think of anything else right now. So, I guess I'll go start crocheting.

Replies: 6 comments

:( This is such a tragedy! My heart goes out to Joe and his cats. This is just too sad to imagine. :( I am left speechless about this... Just too much... :(

It makes me really sad!

Posted by Honest @ 01/02/2003 06:58 AM PDT

I saw this on the news. They showed all the little kitties lined up on the broke my heart. I know someone who lost everything (no pets)last Saturday in a fire that I am helping, they have a 2yr. old daughter like me.

Posted by Melanee @ 01/02/2003 08:27 AM PDT

*so sad* I lost a house to fire, but managed to save my cat and dog.
lv, I wanted to c/p his note to you as well as the newspaper article.
Of course, I can't :blush: should I just send your diary to my e-pals?

Posted by bobbie (BandB) @ 01/02/2003 09:51 AM PDT

What a horrible thing to have happen during the holidays, or any time, I wish I could help. Hubby has been unemployed for over a year (thanks to 9/11) and my wages are the only thing between us and starvation. :(

Posted by Donna @ 01/02/2003 07:50 PM PDT

What a horrible thing to have happen during the holidays, or any time, I wish I could help. Hubby has been unemployed for over a year (thanks to 9/11) and my wages are the only thing between us and starvation. :(

Posted by Donna @ 01/02/2003 07:51 PM PDT

I am still so sad at Joe's loss. If Suzy was my cat I would be out there every night or all day seeing if I could find her. Is he searching at all? I hate the idea of cats going hungry. That is a horrible way to die.

Posted by Melanee @ 01/08/2003 06:12 PM PDT

lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

January 2003

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