There were no injuries in the fire on Monday at 2003 College Street in Cedar Falls, Iowa — and that could be because of a cat named Emma.
Firefighters are crediting the perceptive feline with alerting residents to an apartment fire there, according to The Courier, which first reported the story.
Cedar Falls Fire Chief John-Paul Schilling told the newspaper a resident said his pet was meowing at the ceiling, where he felt heat emanating.
Crews later discovered an active fire in the attic which caused significant damage to several roof trusses, the Courier reports. Since they caught the flames early enough, firefighters were able extinguish the fire – which was caused by an electrical problem in a bedroom light fixture – and minimize the damage to the building.
Schilling tells PEOPLE in an email that he believes Emma is a hero.
“In the past 27 years I have responded to many, many fires. Several of these fires have involved dogs who have aided their owners in some fashion, whether alerting them to a fire or assisting in their rescue,” he said. “Emma the hero cat is a first in my career. I have often heard rumors that animals have a 6th sense and can often sense danger or when something is not quite right. To me this proves that animals have this ability.”