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Neighbors: Cat May Have Spread Flames In Bronx Apartment Fire

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Flames from a fire that injured 11 people in the Bronx on Friday may have been spread by a cat.

As 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported, it started as a grease fire while a man cooked pork chops inside a six-story building at 3971 Gouverneur Ave. near Van Cortlandt Park.

Although the FDNY continues to investigate, neighbors told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall one of the cats accidentally caught on fire, the cat ran and the fire spread from the third to the fourth floor.

Neighbors: Cat May Have Spread Flames In Bronx Apartment Fire

Two people are in critical condition and another nine were sent to the hospital. It's believed five cats perished in the blaze, Stern reported.

Another neighbor said the man who started the fire was in the lobby begging for forgiveness, Stern reported.

"In the lobby, he pleaded on his knees and he kept banging his head on the floor," she said.

Neighbors: Cat May Have Spread Flames In Bronx Apartment Fire

More than 100 firefighters battled the fire for nearly two hours, Hall reported.

The Red Cross said four apartments were destroyed and another five were damaged by smoke.

Of the nine homes displaced by the fire, the Red Cross said it is providing emergency housing to seven, totaling 18 people.

"Dozens of residents that were left out in the cold with no place to go last night," a spokesperson with the Red Cross told Hall. "...So we ended up housing those seven families, which consisted of 17 adults and one child."

The official cause of the fire is under investigation.

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