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Animals Killed As Fire Spreads Through Cattery
At least four cats have died and up to 18 others are missing after a fire broke out at a cattery.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service was called out in the early hours of the morning to Pinetrees Cattery in Huntington, near Cannock.
Station manager Dermot Hogan said: "Firefighters arrived and found the building well alight.
"The cattery owners stated that there had been over 20 cats in the cattery, however some are believed to have escaped from the building after the fire broke out.
"The building has been destroyed as it was predominately a wooden structure and we've been unable to confirm so far how many cats have died in the fire.
"A fire investigation was carried out to establish how the fire started and we believe an electrical fault within one of the pens is to blame."
The fire brigade sent six crews to the incident, including a water carrier and a high volume pumping unit.
Earlier, Phil MacFarlane, of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue said that the fire was not hard to deal with initially but, because of the number of animals involved, it evolved into a quite difficult and traumatic incident.
Cats' owners returning to collect their pets will not know for certain if their animals are among those that have perished because, Mr MacFarlane explained, those that might have escaped would be likely to have "bolted" into nearby woodland.
The owners of the cats will be contacted in due course, a fire service spokesman said.
Lynn Durnell, the owner of the Pinetrees Cattery, spoke of her distress.
"We've contacted those involved. It's very hard. Four of the cats that died belonged to us. I'm devastated," she said.