Flame the Coal Seam cat returns to owner
Flame, the black cat who barely survived in the Coal Seam Fire, is ready to start life No. 2 with his rightful owner.
Dr. Judi Leake said the owner didn’t leave his name when he picked up his cat, but he’s a middle-aged man who was happy and grateful to get Flame back.
“He said he’d lost everything, but that he can work more hours and buy more furniture, but not another cat,” Leake said. “He had a really good energy and spirit.”
Flame was so named after firefighters found him in the debris at Robin Hood Trailer Park in West Glenwood three days after the Coal Seam Fire erupted.
Carbondale teenager T.J. Graf was helping firefighters at the trailer park when some kids pointed out Flame.
“He couldn’t open his eyes,” Graf said. “He was in pretty bad shape.”
Graf brought Flame to Leake’s Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale, where he was treated for severe burns to his ear tips and paws, plus dehydration. “If he’d been out another night, he’d have been real trouble,” Leake said.
The road for Flame from Carbondale to her owner then took a zig-zag, with a missed connection along the way.
Leake said the owner called her clinic soon after the fire, but was told the cat was a female, due to some misunderstandings in the office.
After a newspaper article about Flame appeared with a picture in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on June 21, the owner called again. By then, the folks at Red Hill were on the same page as to Flame’s gender.
On Monday, the owner’s girlfriend and another woman came to Red Hill to make sure the cat was Flame. “It was definitely their cat,” Leake said.
Later in the day, the owner appeared. “He was crying, he was so happy,” Leake said.
Employees at Red Hill gave Flame his name after was first brought in. It’s a name he’ll keep, after a fashion.
“His real name is Sylvester … but now it’s Sylvester the Flame,” Leake said.
Although Sylvester the Flame is now with his owner, there was never much doubt he’d end up with a home. “Three or four people called to adopt him,” Leake said.
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