Yarmouth blast survivor reunited with lost cat

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YARMOUTH — There’s at least one happy ending on Gables Drive.

Nearly two weeks after an explosion destroyed Mary Halsey’s home and several others at the North Gables Condominiums, Halsey was reunited with her missing cat Joey.

On Friday, July 5, the 4-year-old orange tabby was caught by Sue Bailey, a resident of Gables Drive. Bailey, a part-time volunteer for the Homeless Animal Rescue Team in Cumberland, said she was bound and determined to get Joey.

“He’s a wonderful cat,” Bailey said. “I knew what he meant to Mary.”

Bailey found the shell-shocked cat near the ruins of Halsey’s home and coaxed him into her arms. The next morning, Halsey and Joey were reunited.

It was the second time since the June 25 explosion that Halsey had been reunited with a cat. On the day of the blast, rescuers discovered Tommy – an orange tabby from the same litter as Joey – alive beneath collapsed wall board.

Joey, however, wasn’t as easily found.

Halsey spent each day outside her condemned home waiting for Joey to return. She also spent part of a night camped out in her garage. Posters were hung on street corners and, over the course of 10 days, many people spotted the skittish cat in the neighborhood. At night, a security guard often saw Joey slinking in and out of Halsey’s garage. During daytime hours, more than a dozen people called Halsey to report sightings.

“But every time I’d get there, he’d be gone,” she said.

Halsey had been on a run of tough luck. Her home at 36 Gables Drive was destroyed just two days after she moved in. Her decision to move to Yarmouth from York, Pa., was prompted by the death of her husband of 40 years, in February. A few weeks before his death, the couple adopted Joey and Tommy. It was one of their last shared decisions.

“I just didn’t want to lose him,” she said. “I’ve had some losses in the past year.”

Halsey said Joey was happy to see her, but happier to see his 4-year-old sibling Tommy.

“They curled up together in a little ball and slept,” she said.

The June 25 explosion destroyed the condominium at 50 Gables Drive and damaged more than a dozen buildings, including some 200 yards away. Peter Corey, 66, was killed and four people received minor injuries.

Gables Drive is a dead-end street with 14 condominiums in seven duplexes. At least three units were damaged beyond repair. Investigators have said the explosion was probably fueled by propane.

Halsey will soon move into a rental condominium, where she will live until 36 Gables Drive is rebuilt. In the meantime, she has been living in a hotel room in Scarborough.

“It’s all starting to connect again,” she said. “I’m going to be fine and we’re going to get settled in.”

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.

Sidebar Elements

Mary Halsey with her cat Joey, who had been missing for nearly two weeks after a nearby explosion destroyed Halsey’s Yarmouth home. Joey is the second of Halsey’s two cats to be found after the June 25 blast killed her neighbor and damaged more than a dozen buildings.