A woman’s last-ditch effort to resist eviction was met with tragedy on Wednesday, after a fatal blaze unfolded in Roosevelt, New Jersey.
A pet-sitter, whose identity was kept confidential, had received an eviction notice, was determined to stay put, and threatened to blow up the house. As fire and police responded, the woman reportedly turned on the gas and ignited a flame that claimed both her life and the lives of dozens of cats she had kept in a “cat house” on the property.
The threat caused shock and alarm from neighbors, who were evacuated from the vicinity, police who took charge of the situation and multiple fire departments who were far too late in saving her life. Thankfully, no further injuries were reported.
The incident is a grim reminder of the plight of those under the risk of eviction. This, in particular, is set against the backdrop of the deceased woman’s boyfriend who for years had pushed for an eviction but was stonewalled due to Governor Phil Murphy’s pandemic-era eviction moratorium.
It is still unclear just how many cats were not able to make it out alive.