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Firefighters saved the cats, but mom and daughter lose everything else in fire

South Whatcom Fire Chief Dave Ralston comforts a kitten that firefighters rescued and resuscitated after a fire Sunday, December 3 in the rural community of Glenhaven.
South Whatcom Fire Chief Dave Ralston comforts a kitten that firefighters rescued and resuscitated after a fire Sunday, December 3 in the rural community of Glenhaven. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A Glenhaven family lost all their possessions in a fire Sunday morning, but firefighters rescued and revived three of their four pets.

Neighbors of the home at 352 Deerhaven Lane reported seeing flames in a front window about 9:15 a.m. Sunday, said Chief Omar Mejia of Whatcom County Fire District 18, a volunteer agency serving the South Lake Whatcom and Cain Lake Road area.

Mejia said firefighters sprayed water from the outside until an additional crew arrived and they could take hose lines inside.

“They hit it from the exterior on arrival,” Mejia said. “There were reports that all the people were out.”

Firefighters saved the building, but a single mother and her young daughter lost all their possessions. Mejia said they were renting the home and were staying with nearby relatives until they could find a place to live.

Mejia said the house was a temporary shelter for cats, and that a dog and three small cats were inside.

“(Firefighters) were able to save the three cats,” Mejia said. “When they pulled them out, they were lifeless, but they were able to resuscitate them with oxygen and stimulation.”

The family’s dog Maude was dead and could not be revived, Mejia said.

Whatcom County fire investigator Will Anderson said the fire started in a bathroom, but its cause was undetermined pending further investigation. He said the fire did about $100,000 damage to the home and contents.

There was extensive smoke damage throughout, and firefighters knocked out drywall making sure that fire hadn’t extended into the roof and walls.

When they pulled them out, they were lifeless, but they were able to resuscitate them with oxygen and stimulation.

Fire Chief Omar Mejia

Firefighters from South Whatcom Fire Authority and Alger Fire Department assisted, Mejia said.

He said the woman who rented the home is a sister-in-law of a District 18 firefighter, and that a GoFundMe page is raising money to help the family. It had raised $5,725 of a $10,000 goal by Monday afternoon.

Bellingham Herald reporter Robert Mittendorf is a volunteer firefighter with South Whatcom Fire Authority.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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