The good news is that all seven kittens rescued Monday from a smoke-filled structure during a fire department training exercise in Clinton Township are doing well, but volunteers fostering the kittens say caring for the newborns doesn't come cheap.

"Right now they’re back to being normal healthy kittens," said Mark Speed, a volunteer with Lost Paws Animal Rescue in Pittstown, the group that took in the kittens after the rescue.

Speed said the kittens are now in the care of foster families who are still bottle-feeding them every few hours until they're old enough to eat solid food. Volunteers believe they're between 10 and 13 days old.

According to the Township of Clinton Division of Fire, crews were conducting training exercises at the Hunterdon County Emergency Service Training Center in Clinton Township when the kittens were discovered.

“While conducting our training we got a surprise when seven very fragile, and very scared, kittens were located and rescued inside the burn building,” the fire department said in a Facebook post Wednesday

The training took place inside a specially constructed building that’s basically set ablaze to simulate the conditions inside an actual structure fire, which, the fire department said, can reach temperatures up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The kittens were removed from the building and emergency medical crews administered oxygen and contacted Lost Paws Animal Rescue.

The furry creatures spent nearly two days being given oxygen, Speed said. On Wednesday, veterinarians determined that the kittens were able to breathe on their own, so they were released from the animal hospital. They will remain in foster care until they can be adopted when they turn about 3 months old, Speed explained.

Until then, the cost involved with caring for the kittens has already exceeded $1,100, all of which comes from donations, Speed said, adding that Lost Paws is a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on donors. They don't have an actual facility so members of the group voluntarily foster the animals that are rescued. The foster parents often pay for the food and other items associated with caring for the animals out of their own pockets.

In addition, the group raises funds through events such as tricky trays. They also participate in adoption days every week on Saturday and Sunday at the Bridgewater Pet Smart from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Speed said the group is hoping that members of the public will make contributions that will provide financial help in caring for the kittens.

Checks can be made payable to Lost Paws Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 128, Pittstown, NJ 08867. Donations can be made via PayPal by entering the email address or by going to the Lost Paws website and clicking "donate" on the lower right of the page.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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