Fire Kills 48 Cats Inside Nebraska Animal Shelter Home

At least 48 cats were killed after a fire tore through a Nebraska home that doubles as an animal shelter.

The fire began in the laundry room of the house in Chappell, approximately 370 miles west of Omaha, on Friday.

Michelle Tynan said she awoke to the smell of smoke around midnight and discovered the dryer was on fire at the property.

The Nebraska Loves Cats nonprofit co-founder said she called 911, grabbed as many cats as she could and broke windows as she ran outside so that other cats could escape.

"Our non profit animal rescue in Chappel Nebraska burned down yesterday, and the fire department wouldn't help me save any animals," Tynan wrote over a Facebook post on Sunday. "They handcuffed me and pinned me in the snow while our rescued animals were screaming burning alive. More than 30 animals perished."

Tynan said she desperately wanted to re-enter the home to rescue more of the animals but first responders held her back.

Nebraska Loves Cats was live.

"I just wanted to get to that window behind him," she said. "I was begging them to break the window to let them out. I could hear them screaming in terror being burned alive. The fire was spreading so fast."

The Nebraska Loves Cats group said 48 cats died in the fire and several of the felines that initially escaped the fire ran back inside as the house burned.

Photos shared by the group appeared to show the home was completely destroyed by the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in order to raise money for treatment for the surviving cats.

"It is heartbreaking to report that some cats did not survive. We are praying that other missing cats got out on their own but at this time we have not found them," organizers said. "We are fundraising for support for Michelle as she lost everything, and fundraising to get treatment for the surviving cats that experienced burns."

Tynan is now looking after some of the cats at her mother's ranch outside of Chappell, while several others that escaped the fire remain on the loose.

A handful of cats injured from the fire are also being cared for by a veterinarian.

Tynan said Nebraska Loves Cats has been licensed as an animal shelter since 2018, but in December she was found guilty of violating a city ordinance by keeping more than five cats in a residential area. The conviction is currently under appeal and the case is pending.

Nebraska Fire Cats Killed
File photo: Stray cats are seen at an animal welfare centre in Algeciras, 17 January 2006. At least 48 cats were killed after a fire tore through a house and animal shelter in Nebraska. JOSE LUIS ROCA/Getty