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South Tampa house fire kills five cats and a dog, veterinarians treating lone surviving cat

Ruby suffered smoke inhalation and blindness
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Posted at 10:37 AM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 10:37:49-05

Ruby is a survivor. The calico cat is only pet that survived a South Tampa house fire.

Flames claimed the lives of Florence White's dog and her five other cats. White says she's devastated by the deaths of pets, including Charlie, her beloved lab-pit bull mix that rarely left her side.

"I can’t stop thinking about them,” White said. “I miss them so much."

The fire broke out at White's home on W. Iowa Avenue around 5:00 p.m. on Monday. She says she was cooking dinner and walked away from her stove to look for some papers. Moments later her son yelled for her to leave the house.

White lost everything in the house fire, except Ruby.

"She’s a fighter,” said White. “We’re all so glad she’s okay.”

White rushed Ruby to BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital. Vets immediately placed the injured cat into a special chamber to reverse any damage caused by the smoke inhalation. Ruby also received some pain medicine.

“So far, she seems pretty stable,” reports Dr. Melissa Torre. “She was resting comfortably for most of the night.”

Torre believes Ruby may have been blinded during the fire. A veterinary ophthalmologist examined her on Tuesday to determine the cause of the eye injury.

Frankie’s Friends, a national charity that helps pet receive lifesaving emergency and specialty veterinary care, is helping White with Ruby's medical bills, estimated to be around $3,000. Anyone wishing to help out can donate by clicking here.