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Cat named 'Hero' is indeed one
after screams awaken family to fire

By: Sherrie Williams
The scream of a family cat, now called Hero, is being contributed to saving a family’s life.

Just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning Vivian Medlinger woke-up to a “blood curdling” scream from the family cat.

“I got up to see what she was screaming about and saw the smoke in the north end of the living room,” said Vivian, as she talked about waking-up and discovering their home at 1263 Harmony Road was on fire.

When she realized a haze she saw in the living room was smoke, she tried to call the fire department from their home phone, but it wasn’t working.

After waking her husband, Craig, and making sure their daughter and grandson were out of the home, she went back inside to grab her purse, where her cell phone was. She said she also grabbed something to wear besides her pajamas and a pair of shoes.

Craig was able to grab his wallet which was near their bed, before exiting the home., grabbed a water hose and tried and extinguish the fire.

But his efforts and the small amount of water was no match for the fire burning in the attic.

“The fire department got here quickly but the flames were already high,” she said.

According to the fire department dispatch records the call was received at 1:38 a.m. and the first unit arrived on scene at 1:45 a.m.

Iowa Park Fire Chief Randy Fulbright said when he was responding, as he was traveling west in 300 block of West Highway, he could see the glow of the fire.
Fulbright said when they arrived the home was fully engulfed.

Despite the efforts of everyone, the home and all the contents, except some clothes, were a total loss.

Vivian said they were able to save a few of her clothes that were in their bedroom closet that also serves as a storm shelter.

According to fire investigators with the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office the fire was determined to have started from an electrical short in an attic fan in the north end of the home.

Vivian said right now the family is staying with family.

“We appreciate offers of help, but right now we have everything we need,” said Vivian.

She said they have not decided what they will do, but she does know the remains of their home that her husband and father-in-law built in 1999, will have to be bulldozed.

In addition to Iowa Park firefighters, firefighters and equipment from Electra and Wichita West responded to help battle the blaze.

Two Iowa Park firemen were transported to a hospital in Wichita Falls, where they were treated for heat related illnesses.

The fire also took the lives of two of the family’s cats and their dog. However, the cat “Hero” did escape and no doubt enjoying all the extra attention.