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Kitten Saves Family
From Fire

By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY — November 26, 2002 – A Liberty couple has a four-legged friend to thank for their lives this week.
Elizabeth Smith and Shawn Talmadge were asleep early Monday morning when daughter Olyvia’s kitten crept into their bed to wake them up.
According to Smith’s mother Kathleen, a propane heater bolted to the wall in the couple’s rented house on South Main Street in the village had ignited a fire.
Elizabeth ran to pick up 2-year-old Olyvia from her bedroom off of the living room and broke a hole in the kitchen window, dropping six feet to the ground with the baby in her arms and Talmadge on her heels.
Smith suffered deep cuts on her right arm from breaking through the window, and both Talmadges were treated for smoke inhalation at Catskill Regional Medical Center before being released to Kathleen, who has taken them in at her Rock Hill home.
The kitten that saved the day was badly singed by the fire, but Kathleen said they brought the critter to her home as well.
With the holidays coming, it was the worst time to lose a home, but Kathleen Smith will still have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
“At least we’ve got them,” she said. “There were angels looking out over us, that’s all I can say.
“It was a heck of a scary experience,” Smith added. “Everything in the living room was destroyed, and the baby’s room is right off of that.
“We don’t know what’s salvageable in the rest of the house – we haven’t gone back yet.”
The family moved into the home in September, and according to Liz Keller of the Glen Wild Animal Shelter, where Elizabeth is a volunteer, there were no smoke detectors to alert them of an emergency.
“They’re really nice people,” Keller said. “It’s just a bad time of year to lose stuff, and anything that could be done for them would help.
“It’s a shame,” she added. “To be without smoke detectors – no one should get caught like that.”
The fire is still under investigation.
To help the family get back on their feet again, donations can be sent to 282 Katrina Falls Road, Rock Hill, NY 12775.
People can also call Liz Keller at 436-8060 for more information on helping the family.

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