The Utica Fire Department is working to battle a massive house fire on Spring Street in West Utica. According to a neighbor the call came in some time between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Henri Gomolka of Spring Street says the woman who lived there, known as the 'Cat Lady,' had been in and out of the home for years and lived there with close to 40 cats. He also says other animals lived there as well.

When WIBX arrived on the scene the house was still engulfed and crews were battling to contain the fire and protect the surrounding homes. The home to the left of the house where the fire began did catch fire and crews worked to put that out as well. The flames were so large that a huge tree behind the home had caught fire as well.

Gomolka claims the house where the 'Cat Lady' lived had been condemned by the city several years before and the woman living there would frequently use candles. "I could see the cats looking out from the upstairs window from my house," Gomolka told WIBX.

Fire officials were unavailable for comment as they were still actively fighting the blaze. We will continue to provide more details as they become available.