Woman Allegedly Sets House On Fire, Killing Herself And Her Cats To Avoid Eviction

[Screenshot/YouTube/CBS New York]

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A New Jersey woman died Wednesday after she allegedly set fire to her home to avoid eviction, killing her cats in the process, officials say.

The incident occurred after the unnamed woman was served an eviction notice by the owner of the home who was looking to sell, according to NBC 4 New York. The woman, who had lived in the home for several years with a reported 30 cats, refused to leave, prompting a visit from local authorities, the outlet reported.

When police arrived to remove the woman, a standoff ensued and police were later forced to evacuate neighbors instead when they saw smoke rising from the home, CBS News reported.

“We’re getting reports that the resident turned on the gas of the residence prior to igniting,” New Jersey State Police Lt. Lawrence Peele told the outlet.

“They knocked on our door this morning. Thank God it was a pretty loud knock. I grabbed [my son]. They told us to leave. She was threatening with a bomb or to bomb the house and ended up with a fire,” neighbor Erin Luca told CBS News.

The massive fire that ensued completely destroyed the home and caused significant damage to a neighboring house. “I have no house now,” neighbor Emma Quackenbush told the outlet. (RELATED: Teen Arsonist Who Burned Down The Wrong House Sentenced For Killing Family Of 5)

A preliminary investigation revealed that animals were in fact in the home when it went up in flames, CBS News reported. Animal control, however, is continuing to search for any cats that may have escaped the inferno.