The incident took place at Nebraska Loves Cats which was located on the 1100 block of Third Street in Chappell.
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Nebraska Loves Cats
Last Friday, a destructive fire broke out at a western Nebraska home—which was also an animal shelter—tragically killing at least 48 cats. The heartwrenching incident took place at Nebraska Loves Cats, located on the 1100 block of Third Street in Chappell. Taking to Facebook, the shelter shared the devastating news of the incident and added that 48 of its feline residents, including seven kittens, died in the unforgiving blaze.
Speaking to North Platte Telegraph, Nebraska Loves Cat's co-founder Michelle Tynan revealed that the fire began in the laundry room of the home. Recalling the terrible episode, Tynan said she was alone in the house when the fire broke out. She woke up shortly after around midnight due to the smell of smoke. On probing further, she discovered that the dryer in the laundry room was on fire.
At that point, Tynan could not find a fire extinguisher so she called 911 for immediate assistance. Before escaping the burning home, she managed to grab a few cats and bring them to safety outside. She even broke many windows of the home in the hope that the cats would somehow flee using the outlet. Unfortunately, most of the felines in the house were unable to escape the deadly flames.
Tynan wanted to rush back inside in order to save the rest, however, she was restricted from doing so by first responders and emergency crew members. "I could hear the cats crying and I was begging for somebody to please let me go back in and get the animals out," shared a distressed Tynan. "I was just beside myself in grief, screaming." According to their Facebook post, two cats that burned in the fire were rushed to the Westfield Small Animal Clinic in North Platte for treatment.
Four of them were relocated to North Platte and nine others are currently in temporary foster care at a Chappell residence. There were a few cats who escaped the blaze and are currently on the loose. SURVIVORS - LOOSE IN CHAPPELL, NE: Community cats - the feral, stray, and otherwise unowned cats living blocks away from now-destroyed Nebraska Loves Cats house. Volunteers and donations urgently needed to provide daily food & water, straw & supplies, and monitor for any veterinary needs, read the post.
Tynan revealed that the shelter has cared for approximately 200 cats, including ferals and the ones who were abandoned, over the years. There were many special needs cats living in their facility as well and some of them were blind. Now, Nebraska Loves Cats is seeking donations and medical supplies from the public to take care of the remaining cats who have been fostered or are yet to be found. For this purpose, fundraising pages had been set up on PayPal, Home Depot, Amazon, GoFundMe, and Chewy.
"I am asking for help for my friend Michelle and her nonprofit organization Nebraska Loves Cats. There was a devastating fire in the middle of the night and the house is destroyed. Co-founder Michelle was able to escape with a few cats. It is heartbreaking to report that many cats did not survive. We are praying that other missing cats got out on their own but at this time we have not found them. We are fundraising for support for Michelle as she lost everything, to get treatment for the surviving cats that experienced burns, and to help us rebuild. Anything will help, no amount is too small! Thank you!" read the post on GoFundMe.
If you wish to help the animal shelter, click on the fundraising pages. For more information visit their Facebook page.