Deadly Fire in Batavia

November 12, 2013 Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Rachel Elzufon

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November 12, 2013 Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM EDT

Batavia, NY (WKBW) - An overnight fire at 10 Davis Avenue in the City of Batavia, took the life of 87-year-old George McConnell. His wife, Candace, managed to escape the blaze.

Firefighters say about 20 cats lived inside the home, and that Candace was involved with the SPCA. Only about seven cats made it out alive.

The fire began at two in the morning. Crews say they faced significant challenges trying to battle the blaze and rescue George. They describe the house as in hoarding conditions, adding that flamable clothes and paper fueled the flames.

Neighbors say George McConnell was a World War II veteran.