CAROLINA FOREST Groups of people carrying leashes, treats and pet food spread out around Windsor Green Thursday searching for pets that may have escaped Saturdays fire.
At least 100 people joined the search effort, combing dirt pathways and peering into drainage ditches armed with fliers and pictures hoping to spot one of the lost pets.
By the end of the night there was at least one happy ending.
Alyssa June who lives on Crab Pond Court in Windsor Green saw a cat walk past her kitchen window. The cat was friendly, rubbing against June and purring as she pet her.
June took the orange and white cat to the VCA Animal Hospital on U.S. 501. The cat did have a microchip, and the owner lived in a building on Pond Shoals Court. June said the hospital did not release the owners name, but said he was unable to immediately house the cat in his temporary home so VCA is holding the pet.
We were fortunate enough to be spared, June said. Now were just trying to do anything we can for those that werent.
In all, 26 buildings were destroyed by the fire and nearly 190 residents were displaced.
But, six days following the blaze residents were still looking for their pets, unsure if they even made it out of the buildings.
Many of the searchers werent displaced by the fire.
Mary Speigel was one of those. She works at the Man O War golf course.
Im just an animal lover, she said. I just thought Id try to help and do something nice for those people.
Spiegel was with a group that saw a long-haired white cat in a wooded area near the golf courses, but werent able to capture the cat.
She said she saw a dead bird and a few dead fish. The fish had been dragged into a drain pipe.
Something must have dragged it in there, she said.
June and Kevin Neal who lives on a different street said the neighborhood had several stray cats before the fire.
Thats the thing, its like a needle in a haystack, Neal said.
Neal said hes been keeping an eye out just in case he can help. He took one cat to a shelter Monday not knowing what else to do. He said the cat was friendly and declawed which gave him hope that it wasnt a stray.
He said he plans to leave food out over the next few days in case other cats like the one found Thursday return to the rubble.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.