Cutline: Dennis Sanchez recovered his cat, Lucy. She was unhurt, but frightened and hiding in the apartment. When asked if he had any comment, Sanchez stated that the “local fire department is great!”

Dennis Sanchez, with his cat, Lucy, after they escaped a fire at the Festus duplex where Sanchez, his wife and cat were living.

A Festus couple and their cat escaped a fire at a duplex in the 800 block of Cleveland Ave. in Festus on Feb. 20.

No one was injured, but the side of the duplex where the couple live was significantly damaged, so the two of them and their cat are displaced until repairs can be completed, Festus Fire Chief Kevin Cremer said.

The residents – Dennis Sanchez, 61, and Debra Sanchez, 63 – said the two of them and their cat, Lucy, have found temporary housing, with help from their insurance company.

“The other side of the duplex was vacant,” Cremer said. “(The duplex owners) are doing remodeling. There was no damage to that side.”

Dennis Sanchez said he and his wife, who are renters, have been living in the duplex for about eight years, and even before the fire, the two of them planned to move from the side of the duplex damaged by the fire to the other side once the remodeling is completed.

“They’re rehabbing (the other side) of the duplex,” he said. “We’re moving into it.”

The Festus Fire Department got a call around 9 a.m. about the fire, which started in the kitchen in the part of the duplex where the Sanchezes live, Cremer said.

He said the cause was “just a cooking fire.”

In addition to the fire damage to the kitchen, there was smoke and water damage to the Sanchezes’ home, Cremer said.

Sanchez said his wife alerted him about the fire.

“I was sleeping. My wife woke me up,” he said.

Sanchez said he and his wife appreciated the Festus Fire Department’s efforts.

“We got out safely. The firemen were very helpful,” he said.

Firefighters remained on the scene for about an hour and 20 minutes, Cremer said.

The Crystal City and Hillsboro fire departments and the Dunklin, Hematite and Jefferson R-7 fire protection districts helped with the call, and the Mapaville Fire Protection District moved up to cover the Festus Fire Station.

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