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Wis. Fire Officials Blame Cat for Fire

January 27, 2006

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) _ This cat used up his nine lives. Fire officials are blaming a 20-pound cat for starting a town of Washington house fire that caused about $25,000 damage.

The gray and white cat apparently jumped on an electric range in the basement of a two-story home at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and turned on the push-button control, said Darrell Christy, the fire department’s chief of operations. Plastic containers on top of the range smoldered.

``We eliminated everything except for the cat,″ Christy said.

A smoke detector alerted at least three people in the home, who were not hurt, Christy said.

The fire damaged part of the basement and smoke damaged much of the residence, he said.

The cat died, likely of smoke inhalation, he said.

Christy said a cat was blamed for an area house fire about five years ago, but that cat survived.

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