Firefighter tries to rescue cat on roof of burning San Diego house

Firefighters headed to San Diego’s South Bay after reports of a house fire which turned into a rescue mission for a cat seen scaling the roof on Wednesday afternoon.

Fire crews knocked down the main body of the fire about an hour after it started, displacing four adults, 15 cats and one dog, SDFD said.

Fire crews first responded to report of a fire around 3:18 p.m. at a two-story home located at 2243 Conifer Ave. in the Palm City neighborhood of San Diego, according to the SDFD.

A man who was in the home exited safely but alerted firefighters about several cats inside, SDFD said. Some cats did not survive, according to SDFD Battalion Chief Chad Willenberg.

Footage from SkyRanger7 showed thick and dark-colored smoke rushing through openings of the house, not far from where a slim black cat appeared to be walking up the roof.

A firefighter climbed onto the roof and reached for the small black cat, but it scurried down the other side of the roof and into the smoke.

The home is an older house with a ballroom frame construction, allowing the fire to spread quickly through wall cavities and into the attic space, firefighters said. Many belongings were stored in the home, which made firefighting efforts difficult.

The pets belonged to resident Angel Lozano. Lozano, his girlfriend and two other adults live at the home. Lozano was the only one home at the time.

“I ran to the window, there was flames. I tried putting it out. They yelled for me to get out,” Lozano said.

Upon arrival, 15 cats were found, firefighters said.

The fire appeared to have started in the attic. Willenberg said the antiquated construction added to the rapid spread. Firefighters were deterred by so many obstructions in the house.

“Living conditions in the house were extremely high in debris and clothing, hoarder-like conditions,” Willenberg said.

In the middle of the fire, one of the cats found itself stuck on the roof.

“Animals are a lot different than humans. When we go rescue them they tend to run away,” Willenberg said.

Such was the case for that little feline. Firefighters pursued it but couldn’t risk a collapse.

“As they were getting onto the roof, their tool went through the roof, which made it unsafe for them to walk on,” he said.

“Animals are inherently capable of scaling fences, getting out of windows and doors under their own power,” Willenberg added.

As it turned out, this fearless felon managed a self-rescue from his perch near the satellite dish. That one wasn’t the only escape artist. Another kitty was found safe between fences.

Fire investigators said the fire appeared to be accidental. The house was destroyed and at least a half-dozen cats could not be saved.