ALL SAFE AFTER APARTMENT FIRE
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Cheeseburger, the cat, survived last night’s apartment fire and was reunited with her owner, Matthew Baker, 26, today.
Baker’s landlord, Darren Cooke, found Cheeseburger hiding in a bedroom closet of the second-story Mayrose apartment on Lewis Street when he went in today to look for her. The cat was shaken but unharmed.
“I’m just elated,” said JoanAnn Omelia, Baker’s aunt, who, along with her daughter ErinMarie Omelia, went to the complex last night to help. “Darren gave me the thumb’s up after he found her. I was waiting outside.”
“Matt is loving and holding the cat,” she said.
The fire was called in to Otsego County 911 at 6:21 p.m. by a neighbor, who reported seeing Baker run out of his apartment yelling “Fire! Fire!” and smoke coming from an upper-floor apartment. Baker’s mother, Bonnie Boulware, lives in the apartment, too.
Baker’s second cat, Oreo, almost died in the fire, too, but Oneonta Fire Department Capt. Rob Latourette “gave her oxygen and she revived quickly.”
Neighbors and the Omelias, who live elsewhere in Oneonta, kept Oreo safe in a box after Latourette resuscitated her. They brought Oreo to an emotional Baker, who was being treated in an ambulance at the scene and feared both cats were dead. At that time, the firefighters had not found Cheeseburger.
“Bonnie, Matthew’s mother, is overwhelmed by everything that happened,” said JoanAnn.
“Virginia Capps, one of Bonnie and Matt’s neighbors, took Oreo to a vet last night and had bloodwork done on her,” JoanAnn said today. “She’s doing fine. Matthew is very happy about that, too.”
Baker, with the Omelias’ help, also rescued his three guinea pigs, each of whom was in a separate cage.
“I’m so thankful we had a happy ending to the fire last night,” she said.
A GoFundMe has been started to help Baker and Boulware pay for Oreo’s veterinarian bill. Those interested in donating can click on the link https://www.gofundme.com/f/czncpv-apartment-fire