Dozens of Cats Killed In New Jersey House Fire

WAYNE, NJ (1010 WINS/AP) – A fire that officials believe began in an outside light fixture Monday night quickly spread through a home in Wayne killing nearly five dozen cats.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones speaks with neighbors who say they didn’t know so many cats lived at the home

The homeowner and a neighbor rescued some of the felines as flames destroyed the home at 14 Piermont Terrace. The 66-year-old homeowner devoted her life to rescuing cats.

“She was an animal lover,” Wayne Fire Investigator Scott Corman said.

A neighbor told 1010 WINS the homeowner had to be held back from running into the burning building to rescue more of the animals. Neighbors said they did not know exactly how many animals were being sheltered in the home however, officials believe there must have been as many as 60 cats.

It took firefighters from three fire companies two hours to get the upper hand on the flames.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Mary Langus

    You need to get a life and some compassion.

  • Marcie

    My prayers go out to this woman who lost her home, and the cats she clearly loved so much!

    It’s also so sad that people can read a small paragraph of a news article and decide they have all of the facts to judge & convict this poor woman?!

    And Brucie, seriously, ‘you cannot assure the safety of so many animals’, so what you have one cat and you know where the carrier is – that doesn’t mean anything if your one cat were to run and hide and you couldn’t find it in the thick smoke… And what if you weren’t home when a fire happened and you’re cat died, I guess you should be sent to jail too then because you didn’t/couldn’t get the cat out safely?! What if this was a pet store or animal shelter this tragedy happened at? Should they all be sent to jail too? And who are you to decide how many animals anyone can have?? You don’t know anything about her situation. How do you know she didn’t have volunteers helping her care for the cats everyday. How do you know she wasn’t rescuing them, fixing them up, and adopting them out?? You don’t know… it sounds like you just decided you have a psychology degree to diagnose her, and such a perfect life you needed to put her down to make yourself feel better!

    • steph

      way to go she shouldn’t be critized…. if u were in a fire and u couldnt save all 10 of your children should u got to jail brucie? i thought not!

  • sharon

    so sad…… i feel bad for her and the cats. no one should criticize her, at all. if she was keeping up with it, then who is anyone to say anything.

    as far as the vick comment: he’s a NUT!

    i wish her well…..

    • dave guay

      goog riddens

      • Nelson

        100% misspelling. Congrationlations, moron!

      • Eric

        Nelson, I think you missed the whole point. I’ll give you a clue since it seems you like to put others down so you feel better about your miserable life… It’s about JUDGING PEOPLE! Something you seem very good at. Frankly who the hell cares about the spelling? I’m addressing the point at hand and you are to dense to get it. Leave me alone and don’t bother to reply to this because no one here cares what you think. P.S. Yea I spell checked this one just for you.

  • Eric

    Hey to all of you people that are judging this lady, STOP!!! You all watch to much TV. I happen to know her personally. She is very clean and neat. She rescues cats from animal shelters that cant keep the cats any longer and they would be killed if it was’nt for her. She in no way has a problem with hoarding cats. Maybe instead of wasting your time judging her you should write a letter to your congressmen asking to open up better animal shelters so individualls like her don’t have to do the job of the city for them. She is a respected lady in Wayne township and many people give donations to help feed and care for the kittens and cats. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. You sit here and judge, why don’t you get up and do something possitive in your comunitiy. When this lady is no longer living she will be rembered for all her caregiving and selfishness, how will you be rembered? Maybe you could reach out and lend her a helping hand, she has no place to live after loosing her house.

    • sharon

      VERY WELL SAID!!!!!

  • Batman Gotham

    The end result was nearly 60 cats dead and thats the whole issue.

    • LT

      It was obviously an unforeseen tragic occurrence involving someone who was trying to do something good in this very evil world. What good have you done consistently lately?

  • Batman Gotham

    Where are all the animal avocates at? We should have her head! Well thats what would happen if this were Vicks house. So lets do to her like everyone did to vick and hold her responsible and send her to jail.

    • Bob

      Sounds like she really cared for these animals. Any place to send $$ to help her out.

      • Vicky

        The Friends of Wayne Animals is collecting donations for her. P.O. Box 3701. Checks can be made out directly to the homeowner, Jan Bakonyi.

  • darren

    i love this girl just ran on me cause her friggin cat was sick…i hate damn i agree with good

    • LT

      Darren, the cat probably doesn’t like you either. They know who to like and who not to. Maybe you’re upset because the cat gets (and deserves) more attention from your girl than you get. Try growing up – it’s really a cool thing to do.

  • Lee

    This woman was rescuing the cats. Yes, she had a lot of cats but they weren’t harmed. If you don’t know her, don’t judge her.How would you feel if someone spoke about you in such a way. The way some of you are acting is a disgrace. I have less respect for you than her. Saying she should be put down, you disgust me!

    • Brucie

      She may have had good intentions, but look what happened. Animal hoarding is an illness and this cat owner needs to be treated. One person can rescue several cats. One person cannot rescue 50 or more cats. Besides the health and welfare of the cats, there is the health and welfare of the owner. Animal hoarding may not be a crime, but animal cruelty is. This is no joke. She should pay for her crimes. Her selfiishness cost the lives of many cats.

  • sk

    we can’t blame the fire on tyhe lady for having so many cats. WE have no idea te cause of the fire. However, even if this lady lovesd cats it doesn’t seem like she can handle 40 cats in her house. If she was really converned about the cats she could have brought them to a shelter. She wanted the cats for her benefit, not because of her concern for the cat!

    • Karen

      Most shelters charge you to place an animal in there shelter and they also kill them……..The Kent Shelter in NY charges you $150 to put a kitten in there shelter.On the upside for 150 you can give them as many kittens as you want.

  • Tom

    I don’t like people making jokes about the cats that got killed in the fire. Very rude of you. This woman did what a lot of people don’t do, give love and passion to these animals.

    • Brucie

      She may have had good intentions, but look what happened. There is no way one person can care for so many cats. As a cat lover, I think her behavior is inexcusable. If she really cared for the cats, she would have found them homes. It’s very sad.

  • None of your business

    Who are you to judge! You don’t know the whole situation. They may have been very well cared for. Get a life!

    • Da N-Word

      Up yours, bizzatch!

  • Jessica

    Can you say hoarder? As she was saving the cats, she was killing herself and the cats as well, with all the health issues.

    • Brucie

      I agree. There is no way someone could have 50 cats in the house and they would all be well cared for.

    • Eric

      Janet is very healthy for her age. There was no “health” issues with her or the cats.

  • Suite Jeebus

    Hopefully the ASPCA will have the homeowner put down.

  • Fat Cat

    What a CATastrophy!

  • S


  • Brucie

    The homeowner should go to jail for animal cruelty. Fifty cats in one household is way too many to care for. As this tradgedy proves, you cannot assure the safety of so many animals. I only have one cat, but I know where his carrier is and what to do to get him out in an emergency. The homeowner is obviously insane and the neighbors aren’t much better if they didn’t report this situation before it became a tradgedy..

    • Mary Langus

      You need some compassion. It was very cold and she was trying to help them

  • Hornet Montana

    The cats themselves maybe are responsible, for want of adequate air to breathe or space to walk.

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