CARIBOU — A woman and her boyfriend are crediting a cat named “Sammy” for waking her up when flames were spreading as she slept inside their Main Street home.

“That cat was the one who saved Kelly’s life,” said Shawn Beaulieu, who was at work when the fire broke out at the home late Tuesday morning.

Kelly St. Peter “works nights, so she was asleep on the couch, and I got a call from her just a few minutes after I left for work.”

St. Peter, who did not want to be interviewed, told Beaulieu that the cat jumped on her and meowed until she woke up.

“She said she saw the reflection of the fire on the walls, and tried to put it out with our fire extinguisher,” Beaulieu said Thursday.

St. Peter made it out uninjured, but was concerned about Sammy, who eventually also escaped the flames unscathed and ran into the unattached garage, where he was placed in a cat carrier while Caribou firefighters arrived to battle the blaze.

Caribou Fire Captain Brian Lajoie said he and his crew were on the scene for a little over two hours pouring about 5,000 gallons into the home to put out the fire.

“The cold temperatures are always a challenge,” Lajoie said, “but the weather cooperated with us that day and we’re usually prepared for the cold.”

While certainly a difficult situation this close to Christmas, Beaulieu said the home was insured and that his insurance company was putting them up in a nearby hotel with the prospect of setting them up in a nearby apartment soon.

The insurance adjuster also indicated it might be possible to repair the house, according to Beaulieu, since the damage primarily affected the interior of the home. They need to figure out if they can remediate the damage inside, he said, adding that “they have a good feeling they can.”

But at this point, Beaulieu said the main concern is their orange indoor cat.

Beaulieu said he went into the garage after “things calmed down,” to get Sammy out of the carrier, but as he was carrying him out, the cat was startled by the firefighters at the scene and ran away.

“He shredded me,” Beaulieu said. “The cat went up one side of me and down the other, and then he was gone.”

Sammy is an older cat that Beaulieu and St. Peter acquired from an animal shelter just before he was to be euthanized.

“The biggest thing on our plate right now is the cat,” he said. “We rescued him from the shelter and he was around his previous owner for about eight or nine days after they passed away, which really messed his head up.”

Finding Sammy would be the “ultimate Christmas present,” Beaulieu said, adding that he’s just looking for closure at this point, but would ideally like to be reunited with his pet.

Beaulieu is trying to stay optimistic after the lost cat and burned home, citing these events as the most recent in a string of bad luck that included recent heart surgery for him and an accident last year when he rolled over a tractor trailer.

“A week before this all happened, Kelly’s car had a blown motor, so this has been one Christmas to remember,” he said. “It’s amazing how much can be thrown on top of you and you still manage to function. It really sucks.”

Their neighbor, Vince Anderson, who owns GJ Autobody across the street, also called 911 when he saw the flames coming from the house on Tuesday.

“Thank God she’s OK,” said Anderson. “She wouldn’t have made it out of the house if it wasn’t for her cat waking her up.”

When Beaulieu returned to the house that day, he said he saw smoke billowing out of his home and Anderson consoling his wife in the driveway.

Beaulieu said he learned later that Anderson had opened the door and yelled to Kelly to get out of the home when she was still trying to find the cat before firefighters arrived.

Anderson is “one heck of a guy” who has helped him and his girlfriend out in the past, said Beaulieu, adding that he recently bought a vehicle from him.

“Kelly helped out his father when he had Alzheimer’s,” Beaulieu said, “and one time when my stepson came to the house, [Anderson] didn’t know who it was and ended up reporting it as a break-in to the police.”

He laughed and added that “it’s great to know he’s watching the place,” and that “we’d do anything for him and he’d do anything for us.”

Both the fire chief and Beaulieu said the fire started in the laundry room, and that the exact cause remains under investigation.

“The woman and cat inside were very lucky to get out,” said Lajoie.

Beaulieu is optimistic overall and said Thursday that he had spoken to a neighbor who has fed a stray cat that may be Sammy.

“There’s a possible good ending here,” he said. “Well, as good as it can be.”

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