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Family, Cat Recovering After Elmsford Fire

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – Inside White Plains Veterinary Emergency Group, Lucky is slowly working toward returning home.

Inside a New Rochelle hotel, the cat’s family is working to build a home to welcome him into.

Three weeks after a fire ravaged the home at 22 Woodside Ave., and severerly burned the 7-year-old cat, owner Pam Stemberg said the family, much like Lucky, is on the road to healing.

“It’s still hard to get your head around,” she said. “You wake up one day, go to work and your house is gone is just like that.”

Firefighters have yet to determine what started the blaze, which began at 22 Woodside Ave ., and quickly spread to a neighboring home .  But Stemberg said her house has been declared a total loss and all that remains is a pile of rubble.

“There were so many irreplaceable things and things we are never getting out,” she said. “But what we told the kids is that we will make new memories and take new pictures.”

On June 15, the day of the fire, Stemberg said her children had left the house just before 4 p.m. with their nanny to take the dog to the park. Five minutes later, a neighbor noticed flames coming from under the porch.

Stemberg said she ran into the house and was able to rescue Mucchi, one of her three cats.  Another cat, Tubby, remains unaccounted for, Stemberg said, but she suspects the feline escaped the blaze and has yet to return.

As for Lucky, the black cat is recuperating inside the animal hospital after suffering second-degree burns to his paw pads and singed hair on his legs and face. Doctors are hopeful, Stemberg said, the cat will grow new paw pads and the hair will return.

“Lucky is in good hands,” she said. “He’s going to recover and go home.”

Stemberg said the family is hoping to one day return to Woodside Avenue, the neighborhood they called home for nine years. For now, she said, the family has plans to move into a rented house in Port Chester while they work to rebuild the home they lost in the fire.

In the meantime, Stemberg said the support from the Elmsford community and Greenburgh schools has been unexpected, and overwhelming.

“Really the kindness of people and the concern and their love and generosity has carried us,” she said.  “Every time you think this is an insurmountable task, there is someone offering to give something you need or something you’d like.”

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