World record cats feared dead after Farmington Hills house fire

FARMINGTON HILLS, MICH. - The destroyed house on the 34000 block of Quaker Valley Lane in Farmington Hills only told half the story.

Will and Lauren Powers, both in the medical field, not only lost everything in the early morning blaze Sunday but also may have lost their two cats: Guinness Book of World Record holders Arcturus and Cygnus.

“It’s becoming public news and so I will share that we had a house fire today,’’ Will Powers posted on the couple’s Facebook page. “I awoke to alarms and was already far too late. I tried to save the cats, but couldn‘t find them before I was overcome with smoke. We are nearly sure all perished. I did manage to open a few doors in hopes they would run out so if any in the Farmington area finds a cat matching their description please notify us. We have totally lost everything. The house is gone. We survived with the clothes on our backs.’’

Will Powers said he wanted to be left alone Monday morning as he and Lauren tried to put the pieces of their lives back together.

“I think we are looking for some space so they can kind of address all the issues they have to handle right now,’’ said Mario Lacute, Lauren Powers' father. “That’s it.’’

Cygnus held the Guinness World Record with a tail of 17.5 inches long. Arcturus stood 20.1 inches tall, which was another world record. The cats had just appeared on the national talk show Pickler and Ben last week.

“Lauren and I will recover from this,’’ Will Powers said in his Facebook post. “We have had an outstanding show of support. But we can’t have our cats back.’’

Neighbors were hopeful that the cats were still alive while at the same time showing sympathy for the couple.

“I met Lauren yesterday and she’s very concerned about the cats,’’ said Mariann Conti, a neighbor. “I’m so happy that everyone got out safe. I hope that the cats are found. There are a lot of neighbors that are really concerned about this. Everyone wants to help. I’m going to reach out to her today. I did see the fire. It was absolutely terrible. It seemed like there wasn’t water for the firemen. It started like a smoke fire and it seemed like there wasn’t water to get to the house to get it extinguished.

“Everyone is upset. We’ve been talking. … All the neighbors.’’

Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh said the blaze is under investigation, but added that no foul play seemed to be involved.

 “Our investigators are back out at the scene this morning," Unruh said. "We’re waiting for some heavy equipment to arrive to start stabilizing the structure so we can get inside to start a more exact investigation, a more thorough one. We’re looking for an origin of the fire right now and trying to figure out a cause.

“Nothing is pointing to anything suspicious.’’

Unruh said his crew was met with the challenge of extinguishing the fire with no hydrant in the immediate area. A tanker truck from the Village of Franklin helped. Unruh said there was a 10-minute delay between the time the fire started and the 911 call.

As for the cats?

“The world record holders I’m afraid are going to be in there,’’ said Unruh. “There’s always hope. He left a couple of doors open for them so we’re always hopeful they ran out.’’

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© 2017, Detroit Free Press


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