A tragic story in West Orange.

At 4:30 a.m. Sunday, a fire broke out in a home on Valley Way. Authorities say a 66-year-old woman, Cynthia Johnson, was outside but ran back in to rescue cats.

She never made it out.

Firefighters found her unresponsive on the second floor, officials say. It was said in a joint statement by West Orange Police Chief James Abbott and Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II that Johnson was rushed to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston and that she died there at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities say a second person who is the homeowner was hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

This heartbreaking Facebook post is the reason you don’t want to rush back inside a burning building trying to save a non-human life.

It’s never worth it. There’s always someone human counting on you.

A companion of 22 years lost over some cats. I fully understand people’s love for animals. I’ve owned four cats and 4 dogs in my life along with a menagerie of other critters. I get it. You love them. You feel like they’re family.

But they’re not.

And as I said in an article on the scary close-call in Hopewell Township when a woman tried saving her dogs and fell through ice herself, it’s never worth it. There’s always someone human counting on you. That woman almost drowned and was very lucky her life was spared.

Cynthia Johnson didn’t have the same happy ending.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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