Originally created 12/21/96

Aiken man saves cat from house fire



AIKEN - When their house burned Friday, Sam and Tina Green lost everything they owned - except for one most important thing.

Angel.

The female Persian cat with deep blue eyes was nowhere to be found when fire and smoke engulfed their wooden house on Cushman Drive.

But after kicking open a back door to escape the flames with his wife, Mr. Green rushed back into the burning house to save Angel.

"The fire was in the back of the house," he said, tightly holding the cat after the blaze was out. "I went back in the front door to get Angel."

It took 20 firefighters nearly 30 minutes to put out the blaze, which started about 3:15 p.m., said Maj. Robert Harte{cq} of the Aiken Department of Public Safety. Three trucks, including two pumpers, responded to the fire.

Nothing inside the home looked to be salvageable late Friday and the Greens did not have insurance.

They plan to stay with family, Mr. Green said.

Fire investigators were not sure late Friday what caused the fire. They received "conflicting stories" on how it may have started, Maj. Harte said.

Mr. Green said the fire probably started when a 2-inch flame shot out of the home's gas water heater and ignited some material around the heater.

"It does that every time it comes on," he said.

Mrs. Green{Tina} said that she heard a "pop, pop, pop" right before the fire started. Their landlord, Emmie C. Brown, said the home was warmed by space heaters.