Twenty cats were killed in a house fire Monday morning at 6126 Highway 60.
The homeowner was recently placed in a retirement center and was unable to bring her pets with her, Amy Maxwell of Hamilton County Emergency Services, said.
The fire was reported at 5:30 a.m. by a motorist driving on Highway 60, Maxwell said.
The cats lived in the basement area and were continued to be cared for by family members, Deputy Chief Danny Wright of the Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department said. No one was in the residence at the time, he said.
"When firefighters extinguished the front porch area, they opened the front door to find the first floor was completely burned and collapsed to the basement," Maxwell said in a news release.
Wright said the fire started in the home's basement, but the cause is undetermined and will be under investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department.
The closest fire hydrants were three miles away, he said.
Maxwell said the house was a total loss, with damages estimated at $200,000. No injuries were reported, she said.
Harrison Keely is an online breaking news producer for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He also anchors the daily newscast. He joined the Times Free Press as a reporter in 2010. He previously served as managing editor of the Smoky Mountain Sentinel in western North Carolina and as a business reporter for the Washington Times in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Lee University in 2009 where he served as managing editor of the student news ...