Ohio family escapes devastating house fire after cat wakes them up

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An Ohio family of six credits their pet kitten for saving their lives after a fire destroyed their home.

“If it wasn’t for her [the cat], it would have been even more tragic.” Alyssa John-Hall told Fox News Digital. 

John-Hall said she got up and let the cat outside, but when she went back inside, she quickly realized that her home smelled extremely smokey.

John-Hall said she got up and let the cat outside, but when she went back inside, she quickly realized that her home smelled extremely smokey. (Allysa John-Hall)

Flames were shooting up from the basement and smoke was spreading to every room.

Flames were shooting up from the basement and smoke was spreading to every room. (Allysa John-Hall)

On Friday, March 3, at 5:00 a.m., when the John-Hall’s family kitten, 6-month old Nina, woke up the family and started purring loudly. 

“I thought she was just playing with us- she was jumping on us and playing.” John-Hall shared. 

The homeowner eventually let the cat out into the hallway to get more sleep, but when she returned, she thought to herself, “It smells kind of smoky.”

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When she returned into her family’s upstairs hallway, it was engulfed in dark black plumes of smoke.

“It was literally 2 to five minutes between letting out the cat and returning into the hallway.” John-Hall told Fox News Digital.

The family later learned from the fire department the fire started from a broken water heater in their basement.

The family later learned from the fire department the fire started from a broken water heater in their basement. (Allysa John-Hall)

Her home in Forest Park, Ohio was on fire.

“Immediately, it was fight or flight.” John-Hall recalled. “I’m running down the stairs with all the kids, and I’m screaming for my husband.”

The couple and their four young children made their way outside with their kitten Nina leading the way.

“My husband’s in his underwear, and we were just trying to figure out what’s going on.” John-Hall said. 

Nina, who was just 6-months old, bravely went inside the burning home.

Nina, who was just 6-months old, bravely went inside the burning home. (Allysa John-Hall)

John-Hall shared that she did not realize that their beloved kitten was missing, until it was too late.

“I didn’t realize, I knew that she made it out, and I figured she was in the bushes.” John-Hall shared. “I was focused on caring and calming down my children.”

It was not until a couple of hours later, that the family realized that the cat was missing and had somehow returned into the burning building.

“She went into my eldest son’s room.” John-Hall shared. “I don’t think she [Nina] realized that he had gotten out safely.”

“She went inside to save him.” she added. 

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The family later learned that Nina had passed away in their oldest son’s bedroom.

The Ohio family's home is still standing but the inside is severely damaged from the fire and from smoke.

The Ohio family’s home is still standing but the inside is severely damaged from the fire and from smoke. (Allysa John-Hall)

Though their house is still standing, the fire burned through much of the interior. The family later learned from the fire department the fire started from a broken water heater.

“Within a two-minute time period, our home was consumed with fire.” John-Hall said.

Although this was an extremely difficult situation for the family to encounter, the John-Hall’s remain optimistic and grateful.

“Some people go on the fires, and they lose their entire family.” John-Hall said. “Or others get so burnt up, it changed their lives forever. It could’ve been a lot worse.”

The John-Hall's home is ruined after the house-fire destroyed the family's home. Despite the damages, Allysa John-Hall is thankful that she is alive-- thanks to the family's kitten.

The John-Hall’s home is ruined after the house-fire destroyed the family’s home. Despite the damages, Allysa John-Hall is thankful that she is alive– thanks to the family’s kitten. (Allysa John-Hall)

John-Hall shared that the family of six was in-between insurance agencies at the time of the fire. 

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“We were in between insurance companies and insurance isn’t covering the damages,” the mother of four shared. John-Hall shared that she had a meeting with a new insurance agent the very afternoon of the day of the devastating fire.

Since the family’s insurance won’t cover the costs, they launched a GoFundMe to help with expenses.



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