SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The lone occupant of a single-family home in South San Jose was rescued following an early morning one-alarm fire at the residence, but most of the approximately 100 cats at her house perished in the blaze.

The fire broke out around 1:45 a.m. at the home on the 6900 block of Polvadero Drive near Bernal Avenue.

Carol Miller, the woman who lives at the home, said she lived with at least 100 cats that she rescued from the Stanford University campus.

“Animal control periodically came and inspected (the cats). They were well cared for and terribly loved,” she said. “They were like my children and I devoted my whole life to them.”

Fire officials said many of the cats that died were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Crews were able to save seven cats and one dog. Firefighters rescued Miller and her dog by cutting through a wrought iron fence that surrounds the back porch of the house, which was built to keep the cats from getting out.

Miller was uninjured in the blaze.

When firefighters entered the house, they found “a ton of cats” — at least 100 and perhaps more, Capt. Reggie Williams said.

“When we arrived, we found mainly deceased cats,” Williams said.

Some of the felines were still in the crates while others were on the floor, Williams said.

The fire badly damaged two rooms and the attic. The home is not habitable and will require major reconstruction, Williams said.

After dousing the fire, firefighters put on gloves and used shovels to pick up the dead cats and place them in crates in the home’s front yard for Santa Clara County Animal Care and Control to dispose of, Williams said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, Williams said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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