Firefighters used a mask specially designed for pets to revive a cat found in an Old Town house struck by fire the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 2.
The man who rents the house, at 311 Hester St., Timothy Nuckols, was at work when the fire broke out at about 8 a.m., fire Chief Tim Guffey said. Nuckols is the only resident of the house.
Guffey said a neighbor told firefighters Nuckols might have been home, and his car was in the driveway, but firefighters did not find anyone inside after searching. They later determined that Nuckols has a work truck and had left in that vehicle before the fire started.
The search did turn up a cat, though, and firefighters employed the pet oxygen mask to save it.
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The department used to use human masks for pets, Guffey said, but they don’t fit as well as masks designed for animals and not as much oxygen would get through to the pet. The department has two of the pet masks, one donated by a Girl Scout troop and one donated by a veterinary clinic. The part of the mask that fits over the mouth is deeper than on a mask for humans to accommodate an animal’s snout.
“It’s really kind of cool that it fits the kind of animal we’re dealing with,” Guffey said. “In about 10 to 15 minutes she came around and she was good to go.”
Guffey said the fire started in the kitchen and may have been electrical. It was not thought to be cooking related. There was smoke and heat damage throughout the first floor and smoke damage on the second.
The house is uninhabitable and the American Red Cross is assisting Nuckols with his recovery.
Guffey estimated the damage to the house at about $30,000, just under the assessed value of the property according to Wake County real estate data.
In addition to the Knightdale Fire Department, the Eastern Wake Fire Department, which is right down the street at 401 Hester St., responded. The Wendell Fire Department was also dispatched but was not needed and was sent back.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826