Cat who alerted homeowners to morning rowhome wall collapse rescued

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The home that partially collapsed early Wednesday morning has been demolished but not before crews – including Jen Leary from the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team – found the hero cat that possibly saved the lives of the homeowners.

Part of a wall at the West Philadelphia home collapsed outward, and the victims' cat is being credited with helping the couple inside get out.

It happened at about 4:45 a.m. Wednesday in the unit block of S. Ruby Street, near 54th and Market streets, where neighbors can hear the El.

SKYFOX spent considerable time over what's known as a stand-alone rowhome, and there's a large amount of debris on the side of the home.

FOX 29’s Steve Keeley reports there was a couple in their 40s at the time and neither had to be taken to the hospital.

Their cat Baxter knew something was wrong and woke up the man who was sleeping on first floor couch. Then, he woke up his wife upstairs, and they heard crackling.

Keeley also talked to two men who were nearby at the time, and became first-responders after they reported hearing the cracking, then a big boom, and the woman screaming.

They say she was holding on to a railing, which luckily didn’t go down. In fact, it may have been the only part of the home left.

Police say the only injuries reported are scratches.

Neither Market Street nor SEPTA's Market-Frankford El were affected.

Crowds arrived at the scene and watched crews go up through a second floor window and recover Baxter on the roof. Then they burst into applause.

The cause of the collapse will be under investigation. Construction next door is a possibility. Crews were said to be digging the foundation for new homes on Tuesday.

Keeley also reports insurance companies often refuse to insure stand-alone rowhomes because they are considered compromised, because the rowhomes that supported them for years are no longer there.

The building in west Philadelphia is known for a mural painted on the side of the brick wall that collapsed outward.

The mural called "I Wanna Call You Names" is part of several dozen murals by artist Stephen Powers as part of the city's Mural Arts Program.

The family was too upset to talk on camera, but tell FOX 29 they do have a place to stay and are so thankful their rescue kitty came to their rescue. Baxter is doing OK and is getting a lot of love and attention.