A cat named Scrunchie is in the best of hands Friday following a fire that destroyed a Bohemia mobile home, and that resulted in a resident’s brief hospital visit.
Firefighters responded to a call around 1 p.m. Thursday for a fire at the Revere Drive residence, said Bohemia Fire Board Commissioner Frank Nuzzo.
The back of the home was “engulfed” with the blaze that had started in the kitchen at the back, he said.
A man who was living there made it out, and was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation and has since been released, officials said.
The man, who said he was not the residence’s or cat’s owner, said Friday in an email that, “I had just dozed off while reading a book, and was awaked by coughing and choking on the smoke. . . . At first I thought it might have been something in the oven, and when I left my room to look I saw the smoke was thicker in the rear of the house and was coming forward.”
After hearing a neighbor shouting, he “immediately left the house,” said the man who asked not to be identified.
Of the cat, he said that “I knew she was outside [she likes to hang out on the deck] and I had figured she ran off. I was quite surprised and heartened when someone brought her over before I got in the ambulance.”
Fortunately for Scrunchie, staff from Sayville Community Ambulance Company were on the scene, treated her for smoke inhalation, and knew just who to call for follow-up help.
The company’s second assistant chief, Stephanie Golub, who was not at the scene, works as a manager at nearby Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialists, which is especially friendly to animals that have been caught in house fires.
After Scrunchie’s arrival, the tan-and-white tabby spent the night in a closed-in oxygen cage. She was breathing normally Friday morning and had expressed interest in a little chow, said veterinarian Deborah Trainor.
As could be expected, the kitty was “a little feisty” at first, but after some gentle talk, she started showing her sweet side, Trainor said.
Such house fire patients are regulars at Atlantic Coast, said Allison Emmet, finance and marketing manager, with seven such cats under their care a few days back.
Co-owner Dr. George Kramer, a veterinary cardiologist, also provides free training in pet CPR, smoke inhalation treatment and basic first aid to area rescue personnel, Golub said. Following the training, attendees are also supplied with a stock of oxygen masks — kitty and doggy size, of course.