Family credits hungry cat with saving them from fire

Brian Young gave his cat Berkeley a hearty scratch on the back and a few extra cans of tuna after the hungry feline awakened him just before a fire raced through his home, leaving little time to get his family out.

NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. — Brian Young gave his cat Berkeley a hearty scratch on the back and a few extra cans of tuna after the hungry feline awakened him just before a fire raced through his home, leaving little time to get his family out.

Young, a former Nova Scotia politician who lives with his wife and two adult sons in North Sydney, said the cat woke him up Monday at about 5 a.m., mewing to be fed and let outside.

Young said he fed the eight-year-old tabby some of the tuna he keeps in the fridge for him, let him out and returned to bed where he drifted off to sleep before waking up to a whooshing sound of flames and the crackling of burning floorboards about an hour or so later.

He said he went downstairs to find flames and smoke rolling off the kitchen ceiling and rushed his wife and son out of the house while calling 911 as the fast-moving fire destroyed part of the home.

“I got to the bottom of the stairs and looked and there was a wall of flame and I screamed, ‘Oh my God,”’ Young said from the hotel where he and his family are staying.

“But we all got out safely and the cat is safe.”

Berkeley, a stray who appeared at their home as a scrawny kitten eight years ago, took off after the fire but has since returned and is being cared for by a neighbour until the family determines what will happen to their home.

Young, who served in the Progressive Conservative governments of former premiers John Buchanan and Donald Cameron, credits the cat with getting him up, preventing him from falling back into a deep sleep after that.

He said a couple of people at the local mall had heard the story and their first question was, “Did you find your cat?”

Young said the hefty brown cat, known for its six toes on each paw, was a little miffed by the ordeal.

“He showed up and he was really put out because his house had been burned and his regular haunts were gone,” he said with a laugh. “We got him staying with a neighbour and they’re feeding him tuna as well, so he’s happy with that.”

He said the fire engulfed the deck and went into the kitchen wall, forcing firefighters to poke holes in the roof to try to extinguish it. But he said the blaze left a big hole where the dining room and kitchen once were.

Young, 64, said it’s not clear whether they can salvage their home. He said they may have lost many of their possessions, including memorabilia from his daughter Carmen who died in 1992 after an unsuccessful double lung transplant.

“That’s life — you can’t predict it, you can’t control it, you just have to roll with the punches,” he said.

Just Posted

Celebrating 4-20 in Red Deer

For years, 4-20 was a time to protest for the legalization of… Continue reading

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Dozens hurt in collapse of deck during wedding celebration in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically,… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25.5 million jackpot… Continue reading

Uber driver charged in two sexual assault investigations: Toronto police

Toronto police say an Uber driver is facing sexual assault charges in… Continue reading

PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

CHARLOTTETOWN — With only a few days before voters were to go… Continue reading

Egyptians vote on changes that would extend el-Sissi’s rule

CAIRO — Egyptians cast their ballots Saturday on the first of three… Continue reading

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s… Continue reading

New bout of heavy fighting in Yemen kills dozens

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say heavy fighting in Yemen’s southern Dhale… Continue reading

Most Read