Firefighters rescued a woman from a blaze yesterday at her house at 902 East Broadway, and a police sergeant took the woman's two injured cats to a Point Place animal hospital.
Patricia J. Mueller, 81, was in serious condition in the intensive care unit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center suffering from smoke inhalation, authorities said. Ms. Mueller did not suffer burns, said Mike Sbrocchi of the fire investigation unit.
Ms. Mueller's two cats suffered smoke inhalation and were being treated at Shoreland Animal Hospital, where they were taken by Sgt. Karen Sue Martensen, said Emily Lloyd, a receptionist at the animal hospital.
When firefighters arrived about 1 p.m., they found Ms. Mueller lying on the living room floor, where she was having trouble breathing, Mr. Sbrocchi said.
Ms. Mueller was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She may have had trouble walking because authorities found a walker and wheelchair in the residence, he said.
The fire was ruled accidental and probably was caused by an electrical malfunction, fire investigators said. The fire started in the kitchen at or near an outlet, where numerous appliances were plugged in, Mr. Sbrocchi said. Damage was estimated at $10,000.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in less than 15 minutes.
Ms. Mueller rents the house with her daughter, Kathy Maginnis, who was at work when the fire occurred, Mr. Sbrocchi said. Jesse Pilkington owns the residence, which was insured, he said.