Homeowner Kathy O'Leary of Smoky Hill Road is not sure why she woke up around 1:30 a.m. early Thursday morning.
"I just kind of woke up and sat up in bed," said O'Leary. "I didn't smell anything but I heard what sounded like some popping and crackling. At that point I thought one of the animals was getting into something they shouldn't and I better go check on them. When I walked across the house I saw the fire in the breezeway. There were three beautiful talking parrots out there and they were gone."
Town firefighters arrived to find her home fully engulfed with flames from the garage to the breezeway and the flames eventually made their way through the back of the house for a near total loss.
O'Leary said she doesn't like to say how many animals she had but did say she had the three parrots, a dog and a multitude of cats.
"The fire department obviously took care of the fire first but once they had a chance they did their best to get the animals out and I appreciate that," O'Leary said while tearing up. "The Berlin Animal Control also came and they were fantastic. I owe my life to them because the animals were my life."
Early this morning at 1:37 a.m. all four town fire departments responded to a structure fire at 62 Smoky Hill Road. While no humans were injuries at the home, fire officials said 18 cats were found dead at the scene and a number of other animals were rescued.
The departments reported the scene as a fully involved structure fire. Upon arrival an attached garage and breezeway were fully involved with flames spreading into the main part of the house.
The homeowner was out of the structure however there were numerous animals that were removed by the fire department and turned over to Berlin Animal Control for treatment.
"We estimate there was one dog and 10 cats that were alive but approximately 18 cats that were deceased at the scene," Kensington Chief Mark Lewandowski said.
The fire was under control in approximately 20 minutes.
Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Odishoo said investigators think the fire was accidental and that it started with an electrical problem. The homeowner made statements that she had attached an extension cord that was running to two space heaters, which Odishoo said may have been the cause of the fire.
"We can never probably prove that or find that out because of the damage," Odishoo said. "Pretty much the whole (breezeway) was completely destroyed."
Cromwell and Meriden Fire Department were called in for station coverage.