Cigarette likely cause of fire that displaced 120 cats

Animalkind, Inc

Cigarette likely cause of fire that displaced 120 cats

By Kate Mostaccio, Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
May 3, 2012

HUDSON — A third-floor mattress fire Tuesday night in the building housing the Animalkind cat rescue organization that forced dozens of volunteers to round up and evacuate the building of some 120 cats Wednesday morning was likely caused by a cigarette, according to Hudson Fire Commissioner Tim Hutchings.

According to Katrin Hecker of Animalkind, the fire started in a third-floor apartment and triggered the sprinkler system in the building.

The Hudson Fire Department, Greenport Rescue and Hudson Police responded Tuesday, but the fire was already out and the fire department didn’t need to utilize any water, according to an email from Hutchings.

While the sprinklers were good for extinguishing the fire, they also contributed to extensive water damage to the three floors of Animalkind, located at 721 Warren St., Hudson.

“It’s in really bad shape,” Hecker said. “The sprinkler system went on, which is good, but then it soaked everything and went all the way to the basement. There was four inches of water on each floor and the ceilings are wet and falling. It’s just a nightmare.”

Animalkind lost “everything,” Hecker said, and has been working feverishly to move all the cats and clean the flooded mess.

The rescue needs to find temporary homes for the cats and needs monetary donations to help find a temporary building for the felines.

“The Warren Inn offered us some space,” Hecker said. “The Humane Society took some cats. Some people we know took two or four or five.”

All the cats are spayed, neutered, chipped and vaccinated, Hecker said.

But the cats being spread out in various shelters isn’t ideal. “We would like another temporary building,” Hecker said. “It has to be in Hudson. All my staff have no cars.”

For those wishing to lend a hand, Hecker welcomes volunteers to come to Animalkind today, Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“We have a lot of cleanup to do and we have to move everything and take care of whatever we have left,” Hecker said.

The organization will also accept donations of items. “They can bring over wet cat food, cat beds, if they want to donate money, it’s very much needed,” Hecker said. “We need to buy all new equipment.”

She directed those seeking to donate to the organization’s website,, for more information.

The water destroyed supplies, bedding and food, as well as the organization’s office computer, printer and even the desk. “It’s really like a flood,” Hecker said.

Animalkind Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to the non-proliferation of unwanted felines through trap/neuter/return and low cost spay/neuter options, its website states. It was founded in 2000.

The fire and flooding isn’t going to stop the rescue from putting on its adoption event Saturday.

“The more we adopt the better,” Hecker said. “If anyone has ever considered adopting a cat, now is the time!”

PetSmart Charities and Animalkind are partnering to host a local National Adoption Weekend event Friday through Sunday at the Greenport PetSmart store at 450 Fairview Ave.

Animalkind volunteers will showcase some of the shelter’s cats and kittens in PetSmart’s Adoption Center. Potential adopters must fill out an application and be approved. Animalkind has no adoption fees, but does accept donations, especially now.

“The shelter finds that it costs about $75 per animal to provide the care needed to ready an animal for adoption,” a press release from Animalkind states.

To donate, canned food, cat litter, bedding or money to Animalkind to help the organization get through this extreme loss, you can contact Hecker at 518-821-9615, visit the website at, or stop into the Warren Inn hotel at 731 Warren St., where Animalkind is temporarily being housed.

Reporter Audra Jornov contributed to this story.

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