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Hills police officer saves cat after apartment fire

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published January 8, 2020

 Farmington Hills resident Scott Sinischo and cat Pearl visit with Officer Timothy Sjostrom Jan. 5 to express their gratitude for saving Pearl’s life.

Farmington Hills resident Scott Sinischo and cat Pearl visit with Officer Timothy Sjostrom Jan. 5 to express their gratitude for saving Pearl’s life.

Photo provided by Sgt. Larry Fetherolf, Farmington Hills Police Department


FARMINGTON HILLS — One Farmington Hills resident is expressing his thanks to police after an officer saved the resident’s cat following a fire at an apartment. 

On Dec. 14, resident Scott Sinischo arrived home to find his apartment extensively damaged by fire, leaving charring, soot and smoke behind.

Soon after Farmington Hills fire personnel put out the blaze, Sinischo, an owner of two cats, found out that one of his cats, Ludwig, did not survive the incident. Finding no signs of his other cat, Pearl, Sinischo began to think Pearl also had perished in the fire. 

Farmington Hills Police Officer Timothy Sjostrom had a hunch that may not be the case, however. 

After Fire Department personnel finished their investigation, Sjostrom re-entered the apartment and made one final attempt to find Pearl in case she had decided to hide during the catastrophe. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it’s a common misconception that animals tend to flee from a home during a fire.  Oftentimes, animals will hide somewhere in the house they consider safe as opposed to trying to escape. 

That was exactly the case with Pearl, who was found by Sjostrom hiding under a bed in the back bedroom of the apartment, covered in ashes. She seemed to be disoriented and suffering from smoke inhalation. 

Approximately 40,000 pets die annually during house fires, mostly due to smoke inhalation. 

After a short game of hide and go seek with the cat — she had crawled into the bed’s foundation through a small hole in the fabric upon being found — Sjostrom secured Pearl. Sinischo and Pearl were then taken to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, a 24-hour emergency veterinary center in Southfield, for treatment. 

Now, a few weeks later, Pearl is on her way to a full recovery. Sinischo and Pearl stopped by the Farmington Hill Police Department Jan. 5 to offer their thanks to Sjostrom in person. 

“Pearl was minutes from death. She wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the action of Officer Timothy Sjostrom,” Sinischo said to department personnel. 

Farmington Hills Police Cmndr. Bonnie Unruh said the incident is “another example of a Farmington Hills police officer going above and beyond.” 

“Officer Sjostrom saw the urgency of the situation and responded with professionalism and compassion,” she said. 

Call Staff Writer Jonathan Shead at (586) 498-1093.