Four people were injured in a fire on Wednesday evening after a fire broke out in a home in central St. John's.
The four were treated for smoke inhalation because of a fire at a townhouse on Buckmaster's Circle, and pets were also removed from the townhouse.
Firefighters received a 911 call shortly after 7 p.m. Arriving on the scene, they found a fire burning on the third floor of the townhouse.
Rescuers found 13 cats in the home, seven adults and six kittens, some of which were being fostered at the home. One of the adult cats died, and two others are getting care at St. John's Veterinary Hospital.
Kimberly Brown said her mother-in-law, who lives in the home where the fire took place, was devastated to learn one of her cats had died.
"After they brought out the cages with the cats in it, seeing her[my mother-in-law] like that, it haunts a person ... she was just devastated. All she could think about was her cats. You know, a cat, it's an animal, it's a family member," she said.
"I can't even put it into words because seeing that it really, really changes your perspective on stuff. She was just distorted, all she could think about was her cats and everything she owns is gone now. She's got nothing."
Friends of the family have started an online campaign to raise funds for the homeowner.
The home was extensively damaged during the blaze, but firefighters contained the flames to the single unit.
Injured animals receiving care
Lori Lockhurst, a volunteer at charity organization Heavenly Creatures, said firefighters were swift to act to take care of the animals that were injured in the ordeal.
"At the time, you just do what you have to do. We went up to the St. John's Regional Fire Department who were amazing - they had one of [the cats] who was passed away, he was all wrapped, and one of the other firefighters was actually giving oxygen to one of the cats," said Lockhurst.
"He was afraid that if he took him off of the oxygen, he wouldn't make it as far as the vet, so we wrapped him up and I gave him mouth to snout on the way to the vet."
Jessica Rendell, with Heavenly Creatures, said the group has taken over care of the animals, including the vet bills.
"The cat who is in bad shape is on oxygen, the skin has been burnt off his poor little feet - they're all swollen up, so Heavenly Creatures is incurring all the medical expenses. The owners are homeless at this point so they can't afford to help out, which is understandable," she said.
Rendell said as of Thursday morning, costs for care for two animals injured totalled $1,600 and were climbing.
She added the group is asking the public for help paying the cost of the vet care.
Heavenly Creatures will be looking for foster homes and permanent homes for the animals in their care.
Police are still investigating the cause of the fire.