|The fire which caused an estimated $150,000 in damage Wednesday to a home on Sladky Avenue was started by a cigarette in the garage, according to local fire and Red Cross officials. Although no people were injured, a house cat died in the blaze.
As firefighters worked to control the fire just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Red Cross volunteers arrived to provide food and shelter for the escaped occupants -- Jack Battat, 81, his caretaker Katherine Shea, 71, and his dog.
According to fire officials, Battat's home caught fire after Shea was smoking a cigarette in the garage and left to go back into the house. When she returned, the armchair she had been sitting in had erupted into flames. The garage was rapidly filling with smoke.
"I knew when I looked at it, it was trouble," Shea said in a news release from the Red Cross. She fled the house with Battat, in bare feet and a sundress.
In addition to an estimated $150,000 in damages, Shea's cat was lost in the fire. She was aided by Red Cross mental health worker Judy Boore, and the local chapter's volunteers also provided Battat and Shea with a cash card for a local hotel, where they are still staying. The two used the card to buy emergency food and clothes, the Red Cross reported.
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