Farmington Hills officer rescues cat after apartment fire

Randy Bruce for State Rep


A Farmington Hills police officer last month reunited a local resident with his cat after a devastating apartment fire.

Farmington Hills Police cat rescue
Pearl is pictured with her owner Scott Sinischo and Police Officer Timothy Sjostrom. (Photo courtesy of Sgt. Larry Fetherolf)

On December 14, 2019, Farmington Hills resident Scott Sinischo arrived home to find that a fire had left most of his apartment charred and covered in soot and smoke. Sadly, he soon learned that his cat, Ludwig, had not survived the ordeal.

When Sinischo was unable to locate his other cat, Pearl, and believed that she had suffered the same fate.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 40,000 pets die in residential fires each year, mostly from smoke inhalation. While people often believe that animals run out during a house fire, the vast majority hide someplace they consider safe instead.

After Farmington Hills Fire Department personnel completed their investigation, Police Officer Timothy Sjostrom re-entered the apartment to search for Pearl, hoping that she was hiding. He found her – covered in ashes, disoriented, and suffering from smoke inhalation – under a bed in the back bedroom.

The terrified cat crawled inside the bed’s foundation, which had a small hole in the fabric underneath, and Sjostrom, with help from Officer Zachary Kosal, tore away the remaining fabric, secured Pearl, and placed her in a pet carrier.

Pearl and her owner were taken in police cruiser to the Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, a 24-hour emergency veterinary service in Southfield, where the cat received life-saving care.

Police Commander Bonnie Unruh wasn’t surprised by Officer Sjostrom’s response.

“This is just another example of a Farmington Hills Police Officer going above and beyond,” Unruh said in a press release. “Officer Sjostrom saw the urgency of the situation and responded with professionalism and compassion.”

On January 5, Sinischo and Pearl stopped by the police station to thank Sjostrom in person.

“Pearl was minutes from death,” said Sinischo. “She wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the actions of Officer Timothy Sjostrom.”