A pet cat feared dead in a fire was found alive Wednesday after a two-alarm blaze tore through the Waterbury apartment complex where he lived, but now his family is facing hefty medical expenses as vets nurse him back to health.
The cat, Harley, was found hiding behind a couch in an apartment at the Deerfield Gardens and Sunset Gardens, where a massive fire damaged six two-bedroom apartments on Tuesday. Authorities said a plumber's torch sparked the flames.
Harley was wet and his fur was scorched, but he was content to be cradled in loving arms and carried out of the apartment on Wednesday.
"He's alive. We found the cat," one of the residents shouted. "The kids are going to be so happy. They were crying all night."
A group of neighbors brought Harley to the Cheshire Animal Hospital for an evaluation, where his bill was first set at $3,000. Medical services listed on the bill include an emergency exam, bandaging, fluid therapy, fluid pump and injections, among others.
One neighbor who is helping to care of the cat, said she managed to reduce the bill to about $2,300, $1,400 of which she charged to her personal credit card.
Now donations are pouring in. Community members have sent hundreds of dollars to the Cheshire Animal Hospital and have donated thousands through the family's GoFundMe page.
"I never expected any of this from anybody," said Harley's owner, Jessica Estrada. "I can't even express how thankful I am."
You can donate online or by calling the Cheshire Animal Hospital at 203-272-3266.