Faced with eviction, woman blows herself up in cat-filled house

On Wednesday, a tragedy unfolded in Roosevelt, New Jersey as a woman’s battle against eviction ended in a deadly fire.

Authorities report that the blaze began around 11 a.m. after the woman, who was living in the home with many cats, refused to leave following being issued an eviction notice.

New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Lawrence Peele said there were indications that the woman had turned on the gas prior to lighting the fire. Police had to evacuate neighbors from the area, and multiple fire departments were called in to attempt to get the woman out alive. However, the woman and many of the cats perished in the flames.

Erin Luca, a neighbor of the woman, explained that the police had knocked on their door and instructed them to leave due to the woman’s threats to bomb the house.

Emma Quackenbush, who resided in a house attached to the woman’s home, shared that she had lost everything in the fire.

It appears that the woman’s boyfriend had been trying to evict her for some time, though this was hindered by Governor Phil Murphy’s eviction moratorium due to the pandemic.

Mayor Peggy Malkin of Roosevelt revealed that the woman had become a pet-sitter and had built a “cat house” for the felines to live in. The exact number of cats that died in the fire is yet to be determined.

PSE&G is currently excavating at the scene, and officials are warning people to stay away from the residence as it is not secure.