Often one's love for their pet can match that of a family member. Kaci Gora, 21, said she's experiencing a painful loss after her beloved cat was killed in an apartment fire.
An Aug. 2 fire at a North Park apartment complex on Texas Street displaced nine people and killed two pets, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
"There's no trace of the little home that I created for the past year," Gora said.
It took fire crews less than 15 minutes to extinguish the flames, SDFD reported. Inside the charred structure, firefighters found the dead pets.
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"I was just crying, I was calling everybody I knew in San Diego to go save my cat because that was the one thing I was most worried about," Gora said.
Gora was out of town when the fire erupted and shared how she regrets having gone.
"When I got the call that he didn't make it and they did find his body, I was still an hour away and it just broke me," she said.
Gora's beloved Strawberry was more than a pet. He was the reason she was able to overcome mental obstacles brought her way during the pandemic, including suicide.
"My brother actually named him because he said he looks very pink and so his mouth was like, he had gotten into a bag of strawberries," said Gora.
Gora said her roommate was home when the blaze happened and escaped with her child, but they both lost their cats.
"I guess the fire just happened so quick, she also couldn't save her own cat," she explained. "So at least they found the two cats together, so at least they had each other."
Now Gora is hoping she will find a new apartment close to a new job that she can walk to as she does not own a car.
"I hope I can find a spot, stay in my community, find a job, build a new community within that job," she said. "You know, do good on Berry's name because he definitely wouldn't have wanted me to give up."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There is someone available 24/7 at 800-273-8255. Or call San Diego Suicide Prevention and Support Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.