'Toots' and 'Poops' the Cats Missing After Massive Fort Greene Fire

By Janet Upadhye on July 23, 2014 2:07pm 

CLINTON HILL — Two cuddly cats are missing after a massive fire tore through a Fort Greene building on Monday and their owners are hoping the public can help find them.

Samm and Eric Bintner, who live in the building at 252 Greene Ave., are searching for their cats — Poops and Toots — that went missing just before the fire destroyed their apartment and belongings.

Their 4-year-old bulldog Bill is sick from the fire's smoke, and their two rabbits and guinea pig died in the blaze. Two other animals, Billy the dog and Lenny the hamster, survived the flames.

It took 106 firefighters to get the fire, which started in the Bintners' apartment at 252 Greene Ave., under control.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries and none of the residents of the building's eight apartments have been allowed back in.

The cause was unknown Tuesday and the FDNY did not immediately respond to an email for comment.

Eric Bintner, an animator, and his wife, a musicology professor, believe that the cats survived and are roaming the neighborhood frightened.

"There was an open door and a small window of opportunity for them to get out," Bintner said. "We believe they are nearby."

The Bintners posted "missing" signs on Greene and Grand avenues offering a reward to anyone who finds the two felines described as "gentle and social," as also reported by the Fort Greene Focus.

He has had 6-year-old Poops, a small multi-colored Calico with green eyes, since he found her walking alone on Thanksgiving night about five years ago.

"She found me, followed me home and walked right in," he said. "She claimed me and my apartment."

Toots is a year-old rescue cat who spent two months hiding under the bed until she grew comfortable and is now outgoing. She is white and gray with yellow eyes and distinctive gray elbow patches on her front and back legs.

The Bintners, who lost two rabbits — Lenny and Pammy — and guinea pig, Lucy, in the fire, are also taking care of their sick bulldog, Bill, who firefighters rescued from the burning building. The pooch has had bloodshot eyes and a major cough since the fire. He is also on two kinds of antibiotics.

The couple is staying with friends and has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with costs of their decimated apartment. In one day they received more than $15,000 in support.

They are grateful for the help, glad Bill is safe and are hopeful the cats will return home.

"I always thought if I lost everything in a house fire I would be devastated," he said. "It turns out none of the possessions I lost actually matter to me at all."

Anyone who sees the cats is asked to call 248-410-8468.

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