Kittens rescued from the burning Wheaton home Thursday afternoon. Credit: Via Pete Piringer/Twitter

Updated 9:30 a.m.: When firefighters arrived to fight a fire at a Wheaton home Thursday afternoon, cats started running from the doors and windows.

By the time the fire was extinguished, they had rescued eight or nine cats, including a few kittens, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said. But it wasn’t immediately unclear how many others got out on their own.

Firefighters “don’t know how many others ran away, but said there was a bunch of them,” Piringer said Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, officials determined that there had been more than 50 cats in the home on the 3400 block of Weller Road, which had severe hoarding conditions and was otherwise unoccupied.

Multiple cats died, according to Piringer. The house has been condemned.

Other cats had to be resuscitated, he said. Firefighters put the cats on leashes and in boxes as they waited for Montgomery County Animal Services, which will take the pets in.


A firefighter was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, as was a bystander, though that person’s condition was not directly related to the fire, Piringer said.

The fire broke out in the basement at about 3:20 p.m. Piringer said the hoarding conditions and clutter contributed to the fire.

The fire is under investigation. It caused about $75,000 in damages.


Via Pete Piringer