6 cats die in fire, eldery woman hospitalized

Six cats died and an elderly Orchard Mesa woman was seriously injured in a house fire Saturday evening in a residential neighborhood near the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

The Grand Junction Fire Department responded to the fire at 198 Rincon Drive about 7:30 p.m. with seven units and 22 responders, according to a Fire Department news release.

An elderly woman was found during a primary search of the home, and she was rescued and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The woman was in serious condition with burns and smoke inhalation, Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said.

Betty Osborne, who lives two houses down from 198 Rincon Drive, said 85-year-old Phyllis Williams lived alone in the single-story, gray home with her pet cats.

Six cats were found, and none of them survived, Page said.

The exterior of the home did not show signs of a fire except for the large hole that firefighters cut in the roof for ventilation.

Page said the first responders on the scene found moderate smoke coming from the rear of the home, and the fire was quickly contained. He said it appeared as if it had been smoldering for a while.

Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and contents. The cause is under investigation, and no firefighters were injured, Page said.


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