An older West York couple and their two cats are safe after fire badly damaged their home Monday afternoon.

Fire started in a second-floor bedroom of the home, located in the 1700 block of Monroe Street, about 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, according to West York Public Safety Director Matt Millsaps.

Borough police officers were on scene in two minutes, in time to help the elderly man — who is on oxygen — off the front porch of his burning home, Millsaps said, adding, "I was able to grab the cats (from inside)."

The man was evaluated for possible smoke inhalation at the scene by a responding ambulance crew, the chief said.

No one was hurt, but the couple and their pets are displaced for now.

The couple is being assisted by the American Red Cross, Millsaps said.

The borough's animal control officer, Shelley Metzler, came to the scene and took the cats back to the West York headquarters of the Borough Animal Response krew (BARk), she said. Metzler is also founder and president of BARk.

The cats will stay with BARk until their human owners have a place to stay and are able to take them back, according to Metzler.

"We took two dogs, too," she said, from the home attached to the burning home, which was smoky.

The humans and dogs from that attached home aren't displaced, Metzler said.

BARk provided all new pet-care items for the dogs, including food, bedding, treats, toys, leashes, collars and bowls — "everything they need," Metzler said. That way, the dogs' food, bedding and other items won't smell of smoke, she said.

BARk will also provide the same service for the cats, once their humans can take custody of them, she said.

Millsaps said the cause of the fire remains under investigation by the borough's fire investigator, but it appears at this point that the fire was accidental.

There's extensive fire damage throughout the second floor and smoke and water damage on the first floor, he said.

Millsaps said an early damage estimate is about $65,000.

West York firefighters were on scene about 4 minutes after being dispatched.

"In the first few minutes, they were able to control the fire and have it all but extinguished," Millsaps said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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