Fri, May 25, 2018 12:33 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

The Cats’ Meow
Persistent pussycats save Williamsport trio
by Lilly Adkins

by Lilly Adkins

Martin County Bureau

Felines Smokey and Lucky have been dubbed heroes for saving owner Dee Pass, seated holding Smokey, and Nicole Coleman (left) and Mary Jarvis (right), both 17. BSN photo/Chris McDavid (click for larger version)

WILLIAMSPORT — A Williamsport woman credits her 14-year-old cat named Smokey with saving her life and the lives of her 17-year-old daughter and her 17-year-old friend Tuesday in a house fire.

Dee Pass of Williams-port said she was sleeping soundly because she hadn’t slept well the night before and when the smoke detectors went off, she didn’t wake up right away. What was deemed an electrical fire by investigators completely destroyed Pass’s home and all it’s contents except for her television.

“My husband works away from home and was at work. I was in the bed and I could hear an alarm. My door was closed and I thought it was my clock radio, so I just layed there. I was sleeping hard,” Pass said. “I have two cats. Smokey is 14 years old and the other one is only six or seven months old and I thought they were just romping around at first. Smokey was on my chest and was making some weird noises and then all of a sudden he started squalling and the other cat ran across my stomach. Smokey kept squalling in my face until I got up.”

Pass said that when she got up, she opened the door and the cats ran off to hide and the house was filled with smoke, but she could see a light.

“The whole back side of the kitchen was on fire and the flames were coming across the ceiling,” Pass said. “The girls helped me find the cats. They got the kitten, but Smokey wouldn’t fool with them. I had to go and get Smokey and he just held on to me for dear life.”

Pass said that she and the girls got out of the house and then went back to try and save whatever they could but everything they had burned in the fire and the home was completely destroyed.

“The girls almost didn’t get back out of the house,” Pass said. “I got the television and that was about all we had time to get. If it hadn’t been for Smokey we would have probably been killed.”

Pass said investigators came to her home Wednesday to look for the cause of the fire.

“The firefighters said it was the hottest fire they had been in,” Pass said. “The investigator said he thought it was electrical, but that it could have been the insulation. The type of insulation we had could have been smoldering in the house for a couple of days and then caught fire according to them.”

Pass said that she had smelled something funny in the home the day before but thought it was nothing more than the plastic from a cigarette wrapper, that had been touched by a cigarette in the ashtray.

Pass is staying with her sister, Linda and said she was thankful to be alive.

“I boarded the cats Tuesday,” Pass said.

Martin County resident Polly Ward said she met Pass when she went to the Highland Veterinary Clinic and Pass brought her cat to be boarded.

“I was at the Highland Veterinary Clinic earlier today (Tuesday) and I met a woman who had a big gray cat. She told me that the cat had saved her life,” Ward said. “Her (Pass) house burned to the ground, but the cat woke her up and she was able to get out of the house. Cats have a bad reputation, but I love them and I thought other people should hear about it.”

“There have been people who said to me that they wouldn’t have risked their lives to go back in there and save the cat, but that was before they heard the story. I owed it to Smokey because he saved my life and the life of my daughter and her friend,” Pass said. “If it hadn’t been for Smokey, we probably wouldn’t be here right now. We lost everything we had in that fire, but we got out with our lives.”

If anyone would like to show their support and help Pass and her family, she can be reached at (606) 788-0103.

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