Firefighters Save 2 Kittens From Apartment Fire

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Flames soared through the roof of an East Topeka apartment complex Monday morning while tenants were still inside.

Fire crews were called to Bentwood Place Apartments at 431 Southeast Winfield Apartment #3. Flames ripped through the roof around 11:30 Monday morning.

Tenant, Rodney Belisle lives in the apartments, but wasn't home at the time.

"A guy pointed out that the building was on fire and at first I was in shock and I thought to myself man I got my cats in there! So, I hurried over here as quick as I could," he says.

Witnesses say the fire started on the lower level and spread to the 2nd floor. Amanda Quinn and her son live on the upper level and made it out safely. Amanda suffered minor scrapes and told 13 News she sensed trouble when she heard a loud knock on her door.

"And then I heard a lot of people yelling and I thought I heard 'fire', just smoke from the apartment downstairs I guess came and you couldn't breathe like instantly you couldn't breathe," says Amanda.

Vanishea Branion was driving past the complex when she saw the fire and rushed to help Amanda.

"I gave her my shoes and sweet tea and I gave her a coat and a jacket and a cover. I have just been sitting here letting them come in for a while," says Branion while sitting in her heated car.

Tenants are grateful to make it out alive and uninjured, but upset everything inside their apartments is gone.

"It's just hard. It will be hard to replace it all. I'm glad everybody got out," said Amanda.

And fortunately, firefighters saved Rodney's 2 kittens.

"Thank God they are still alive. The material stuff can be replaced, but I can't replace my kittens. I love my cats," said Rodney as he kissed his kittens and dried them off with a towel.

A Topeka Fire Department Investigator responded to the scene and an origin and cause scene investigation was completed. Investigation revealed the origin of the fire was on, or near a couch within apartment #3. This fire is being classified as undetermined at this time, while no foul play is suspected.

Additional Information:

Estimated dollar loss - $275,000.00; $250,000.00 Structure and $25,000.00 content.
The American Red Cross responded to assist with emergency aid for 3 Adults and one child
Five (5) Engine companies, two (2) Truck Companies, one (1) Aerial, one (1) Deputy Chief, one (1) Shift Commander, one (1) Battalion Chief, one (1) Fire Investigator, and one (1) Safety Officer responded to the scene.
The Topeka Police Department assisted with Traffic, and crowd control
No injuries were reported as a result of this incident

A man is reunited with his two kittens, rescued from an apartment fire Monday at 423 SE Winfield. (WIBW / Doug Brown)