MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Almost two weeks after a deadly fire destroyed a his apartment building, a man has been reunited with his pets he thought for sure were dead.
Lonny Brinkler loves his cats: Big Devil and Baby Devil.
“They really take care of me more than I take care of them,” Brinker said.
But the fact they’re alive today is almost unimaginable.
“It’s truly a miracle that I got them back,” Brinkler said.
It all started when he was home at Muskogee’s Greenleaf Apartments one afternoon earlier this month.
“The alarm went off, and it goes off all the time,” he recalled. “It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf.”
But then Brinkler stepped onto his porch.
“I looked to my left and I could see the flames coming up over the building,” he said.
Before he could think, he heard his elderly neighbor calling for help.
“She had fallen and her walker was off to the side and the hallway was filled with smoke,” he said.
He acted fast.
“I got her up, and we made it down the fire escape,” he recalled.
He acted so fast, he didn’t have time to get his dog and two cats out.
“It was just horrible because I could see that the place was going up in flames,” he said.
He thought his pets were gone.
“I knew they were still in there,” Brinkler said.
But then he saw a firefighter approaching. In his hands was Brinkler’s dog, Caramel, alive and safe.
“I couldn’t help it,” he recalled. “I started crying.”
After a couple days passed by with no sign of his cats, he assumed the worst. But his step-sister, Kaylee Matthews, took to a local Facebook group/
“And gave the description of what they look like,” Matthews said.
There had been possible sightings before that.
“A fire marshal had said that they’d seen a cat jump off the third story,” Matthews said.
Two more days passed.
“I had a message on Facebook Messenger saying, ‘Is this the cat?’” She recalled.
Sure enough, it was Baby Devil. The cat was found at a nearby apartment complex with some burned paws. But Big Devil was still unaccounted for.
“I’d kind of given up hope,” Brinkler said.
But after another few days, Matthews got another message.
“[It said], ‘Hi, I’m at Greenleaf Apartments, we’re cleaning up, and I heard a meow,’” Matthews said.
There, under a vending machine two floors down from his destroyed apartment, someone found Big Devil.
“I just could not believe it,” Brinkler said.
His three pets are remarkably alive. Brinkler said his pets’ safety was thanks to someone else higher watching out.
“I’m grateful. I really am,” he said.
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