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A couple who escaped a blaze at their 10th Avenue apartment is appealing for help to find their two cats. Rob Easter and Celia Lawson will not be able to return to their apartment for many months, but are hopeful that they can recover their beloved pets, Spencer and Gideon. 

The fire broke out in their five-story apartment building above On The Rocks whiskey bar on 10th Avenue between W48/49th Street last Friday (January 14) at approximately 8:45am. The blaze was put out by a team of over 100 FDNY firefighters. While there were no injuries reported, residents were displaced indefinitely from at least three units. Rob and Celia’s apartment is located across an air shaft from another unit where the fire appeared to start.

“I was woken up by what sounded like an explosion,” said Rob. “There were four to five-foot flames coming across the air shaft from the other apartment.”

The couple believes that the fire traveled further into the air shaft and set off a second explosion, significantly intensifying the smoke and expanding the path of the fire. Smoke traveled from the back of the building and moved swiftly through the hallways and apartments, forcing Rob and Celia to quickly escape without their pets.

FDNY at the fire on 10th Avenue between W47/48th Streets on January 14, 2022. Photo: Keegan Campbell

The couple is desperate to find their cats, Spencer and Gideon — two American Shorthair brothers with brown/white and grey/white coloring and pink noses and paws. The cats were rescued by them over a decade ago through the Angellicle Cats Rescue organization (operating out of Spoiled Brats on W49th). The brothers arrived at their adoptive parents in a significantly traumatized state, making them extremely wary of strangers and of being picked up.

The cats are chipped and local vets have been informed of their description. Rob and Celia ask that anyone who spots the cats does not chase them — instead, please call Rob at (917) 612-2669 to relay the cats’ location. 

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