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Middletown Transcript
  • Two adults, several cats displaced by fire near Townsend

  • Two adults and numerous cats were left homeless Thursday night when a shed fire spread to their Townsend-area home.
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  • Two adults and numerous cats were left homeless Thursday night when a shed fire spread to their Townsend-area home.
    No injuries were reported, but at least two of the homeowners' 11 cats perished in the blaze, while two more remained unaccounted Friday morning, fire officials said.
    The blaze at 949 Blackbird Landing Road reportedly began in a shed just before 10:30 p.m. before spreading to the family's split-level home, according to the state fire marshal's office.
    "It's very sad to see a family lose everything right before Christmas," said Robert Keffer, the vice president of Gale Force Cleaning and Restoration, who was working at the home Friday.
    The state fire marshal's office reported that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction and ruled the blaze to accidental.
    A spokeswoman for the American Red Cross said the agency is providing clothing, food and comfort kits to the family of two, who were able to find a place to stay on their own Thursday night.
    According to county property records, the seven-room, 2,100-square-foot home belongs to Robert and Deborah Combs, who purchased the property in 2000. The house has been owned by the Combs family since it was built in 1978.
    Raymond Clark, the first assistant fire chief with Townsend Fire Company, said about 40 firefighters from seven departments responded to the blaze, which was brought under control in about 35 minutes.
    Firefighters cleared the scene just after midnight.
    Clark said the homeowners were able to get five of their 11 cats safely out of the home. Firefighters found two more alive, but discovered two deceased inside the house.
    The damage to the home is estimated at between $100,000 and $200,000.

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