A man, two women, and more than two dozen cats were rescued from a fire in a multi-family home in New Bedford on Sunday, officials said.
The blaze was reported at 9:39 a.m. at 303 County St. where firefighters encountered heavy smoke pouring out of the first floor, and three residents were trapped on the second and third floors, the New Bedford Fire Department wrote in a statement on Facebook.
A total of 60 cats were found in the home, officials said. Thirty-four did not survive, but 26 cats were treated and resuscitated by New Bedford paramedics, police, fire, and animal control officers, officials said.
Two ladders were set up behind the house to reach the residents. A man trapped on the third floor jumped onto a ladder as soon as it was placed and nearly fell off but was caught by firefighter Paul Medeiros, who held onto him until another firefighter could help him down the ladder, officials said.
Two women trapped on the second floor were brought down the ladder and taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. The man was transported to Rhode Island Hospital. All three are in stable condition, officials said.
Animal Control officers transported the cats to veterinary emergency clinics in West Bridgewater, Swansea, and West Greenwich, R.I., where they will require hyperbaric treatment and oxygen overnight, officials said.
The fire was under control in less than an hour and is under investigation by the New Bedford Fire Investigation Unit and the State Fire Marshal’s office. Investigators are working to determine whether the home had working smoke detectors, officials said.