‘I Probably Looked Insane’: Woman Sprints Toward Blaze To Save Kitten

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – After battling a raging construction site fire for hours Wednesday afternoon, Denver firefighters found a small kitten hiding beneath a burning couch in a nearby apartment.

“They told me my windows are melted, but I have my cat so I don’t care,” Nicole Villanueva told CBS4.

Nicole Villanueva (credit: CBS)

The fire ignited in a building under construction directly next to Villanueva’s apartment around noon Wednesday. She lives in a top corner unit and the flames quickly spread to the roof of her building. Villanueva said she saw the large fire from her office downtown.

“I was looking down at the fire like, ‘That’s in the direction of my apartment,’” she said. “I got an email from my property manager, and I sprinted. I grabbed my bag and my jacket and ran. I probably looked insane, but whatever.”

(credit: CBS)

Despite her hustle, it was too late. Flames had spread quickly, dozens of firefighters were already battling the blaze and evacuations were underway. Villanueva would not be able to get what she raced home to save.

(credit: CBS)

“I was a wreck,” she said, “but you just have to keep your chin up in that kind of situation.”

It would take hours before firefighters could get the intense flames under control and begin searching the damaged buildings. Not giving up hope worked in Villanueva’s favor.

(credit: CBS)

While standing as close to the caution tape as she could, Villanueva watched as a Denver firefighter walked toward her carrying a small green crate. Her kitten was okay.

(credit: CBS)

“That just means a lot to me,” she said. “I have her, everything else I can replace.”

RELATED: 1 Dead, 1 Missing In Building Under Construction Fire | Evacuation Center Activated For Major Downtown Fire

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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