Cat Alerts Guardian to Fire, Saves His Home

 |  Nov 9th 2011  |   4 Contributions


Carl Kryszak holds his cat, Buddy, who woke him up in time to discover a fire. Image courtesy of Buffalo News

About a month ago I told you about a cat who may have saved his caretaker's life by causing her to discover to a tumor in her breast. It could be argued that the life-saving in that story was nothing but coincidence. But there's no doubt that this cat did save his guardian's life — and in the process, may have saved an entire building from going up in flames.

Carl Kryszak had fallen asleep in a chair in the living room of his apartment in Grand Island, N.Y. In the wee hours, his 20-pound tuxedo cat, Buddy, hopped into his lap and woke him up.

As soon as Kryszak opened his eyes, he saw that the room was full of smoke. He investigated his apartment and found flames on a wall between his closet and bathroom, put Buddy outside his first-floor window, and got the other tenants out of the 24-unit apartment building.

I'd argue that Buddy is responsible for saving more than one life on that early November morning. Because he alerted Kryszak to the fire, the man was able to evacuate his fellow residents as well.

The fire department quickly arrived and extinguished the fire before major damage could be done.

Kryszak said he and Buddy plan to stay in their apartment.After all, Buddy likes the place.

Ray Pauley, a spokesman for the Grand Island Fire Department, said he's heard plenty of tales about dogs saving their owners from fires, but this is the first time he's heard of a cat doing so.

I'd be willing to bet that my cats would do the same thing, if the godawful screaming of the smoke detectors didn't wake me up first. But if the fire alarm woke me up, my problem would be finding the cats, who would be hiding in terror, in the farthest, darkest, most inaccessible place they could reach.

Kryszak bought Buddy five years ago. I'm not a big fan of buying cats — or any animals, for that matter — but no matter how the cat came into Kryszak's life, it's a good thing he did. Buddy may just be the best investment the Navy veteran and former volunteer firefighter ever made.

Investigator Chuck Berlinger is working to determine the cause of the fire. Having had his own experiences with hero pets — his dogs once alerted him to thieves trying to break into a nearby car — he has no doubt that animals are very aware of what's going on around them and they know when something's not right.

"Somebody ... I talked to said, Well, the cat just gave one of his nine lives to the guy,'" Pauley said.

I think that person is right.

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