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Cats survive apartment fire - pet safety tips
Oregon State University student Scott Miller shows the paws of his cat Amber that suffered minor burns after surviving the fire at his apartment building on Saturday. Miller's cats, Amber and Stout, right, both managed to escape the fire and are now being boarded at a friend's house as Miller stays in Sackett Hall on campus while looking for a new place to live. (Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times) Casey Campbell

Oregon State University senior Scott Miller was out of town on Saturday when he got a call from his roommate - their apartment building had caught fire early that morning.

"The first thing I asked was, 'What about the cats?'" said Miller, a 30-year-old electrical engineering major.

His felines, Amber and Stout, survived the blaze, which scorched an eight-unit apartment building in the 1600 block of Harrison Boulevard.

Amber, who was rescued from an adjacent apartment two hours into the fire, spent a day at the veterinarian's office after suffering minor burns on her paws, singed whiskers and some smoke-inhalation issues.

Stout was discovered hiding under Miller's bed as firefighters were going through the wreckage of the structure the next day. She was nervous and ran away, but was captured with a live trap on Tuesday.

Both the cats are stressed out, but things could have been much worse.

"It's kind of amazing they survived," said Carla Pusateri, Corvallis Fire Department fire prevention officer.

At least two cats perished in the fire.

Miller's happy his cats are alive, but the fire has left him frustrated and displaced.

"Fortunately, I have some friends who were able to board my cats for a while," Miller said. For now, he's living in Sackett Hall until he can find a new apartment. There are few open rentals near campus now, though, and his roommate doesn't have a car.

He hasn't been able to get back into his apartment since before the fire because of safety concerns with the damaged structure, and nearly all of his possessions, such as clothes and electronics, are inside.

Miller doesn't have renter's insurance, and is worried he might not be able to salvage much, because it's been sitting around for nearly a week, waterlogged and smoky from the fire.

The cause of the fire still is under investigation, Pusateri said.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at kyle.odegard@lee.net or

758-9523.

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