The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Fire victim praises fire department response

Cherished heirlooms saved, and one angry but healthy cat


Valdez Star photo

While initially shy after a house fire rendered her homeless, Mell-O was eager for human contact Wednesday afternoon. She is waiting for a new lifetime home at the Valdez Animal Shelter.

Doug Davies, a self-described crotchety bachelor, was more like a refined gentleman Monday when he described the actions of the Valdez Fire Department after his Alpine Woods home caught on fire.

Davies said he was kicking back at home late Friday night when he looked up at his ceiling.

“I just happened to look up,” he said, and saw small flames beginning to lick through in what would prove to be a fire that came from his chimney.

He said he initially tried to put the fire out using an extinguisher he had on hand but realized quickly he needed the fire department, and fast.

“I couldn’t get up above the ceiling” where the fire was coming from, he said, so he called 911.

“Within five minutes, two of the volunteers who live by here came by the house to make sure I was okay,” he said with gratitude. “The professionalism, of both the volunteers and professionals, was absolutely outstanding.”

The regular firefighters were on the scene pronto.

Several cherished family heirlooms, which Davies said are irreplaceable, were retrieved before the fire was put out, such a photo album his grandmother began before World War I.

Also saved was Davies’ cherished foster cat, Mell-O.

“She’s a cool cat,” he said with obvious affection, a little shook up, but okay - much like himself.

He says he originally fostered the cat, a long-time resident of the Valdez Animal Shelter, because he needed a mouser to free his home of a pesky rodent he’d failed to kill or capture, and he figured getting a temporary cat could be the solution. To make a long story short, the cat got rid of the unwelcome intruder, but soon wiggled her way into his heart.

“Mell-O is the right name for her,” he said, before telling of night of bliss while she splayed across his shoulders. “She’d lay there and purr for hours.”

Davies says he has been offered shelter with the Jaynes family, where he plans to stay before he goes to sea next month. Hence, the reason why Mell-O, the beloved foster cat, was not with him for the long run. Now, both are homeless for the time being.

Davies said he hopes the Mell-O finds a new home and fast. He has to act fast too.

Valdez Star photo

Mell-O, was traumatized last week when the foster home where she was living was severely damaged in a fire. She is homeless again and has been returned to the Valdez Animal Shelter. She is available for adoption.

Before he jumped up to his damage roof to “patch some holes,” he said he did not know if the house itself was salvageable.

“It’s going to be borderline,” he said.

But whether the house is salvaged or not, he said he wanted to make sure the city’s fire department knew the depth of his gratitude for saving his valuables, including the kitty.

Having had firefighting training himself - and having been through a few hairy moments at sea – he was impressed with the coordination and care of the mixed squad of paid and volunteer firefighters that responded to his plight.

“They were seamless,” he said.


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