WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Demolition day at 208 West Flagler Street, an old Miami building in bad shape, and while it’s been out of use for years, it has become home to a colony of cats, which concerns advocates of the animals.

The condemned structure started coming down on Monday.

“I think all of the noise has scared them deeper into hiding,” said Gene West.

Gene West took a picture Tuesday morning showing two of the cats on the second floor.

“When they were doing the demolition, they ripped the stairs off, leaving the cats stuck up there,” said West.

He said he’s been feeding the colony of more than a dozen cats for the past two years and feared the rest of the building would come down with some of his cat friends inside.

“There’s definitely six, at least six that are up there,” said West.

His concerns put a halt to the job for a couple of hours Tuesday as crews were asked to find a way to spare the cats.

“If there is a legitimate concern for those animals, then we take that very seriously,” said City of Miami building director Ace Morrero.

Miami’s building director explained the structure is too unstable and unsafe to enter, so they would have to find another approach.

“Primarily what we’re going to do is we’re going to take it very slow,” said Morrero.

The demolition crew significantly slowed the process, poking holes in the walls, offering escape routes, then carefully moving forward.

“This is definitely the best solution,” said Morrero. “You have an unsafe structure, there is a real risk that the façade could actually collapse.”

As machinery sent enormous slabs of concrete crashed down, West, watched and waited.

Then, suddenly something came rushing out.

“I saw one cat definitely run out, so that’s a good sign.”

Not long after, the crews called it a day, which gave West a little more time to coax the cats to safety.

“When you take care of something for a while, it gets close to you,” said West.

West said he’s been reaching out to trappers trying to get some help. He and at least two others who take care of this colony said they plan to be here tonight and early tomorrow to lure the cats out and keep them from going back inside.

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