What an awesome and heartwarming story (well, except for the building fire)!
I treated a cat for smoke inhalation when I was still in vet school. The poor people lived in a camper (not a fancy one--a truck with a camper top) and loved their two cats. They returned from an errand to find the camper on fire. Neither cat appeared when they called. After the fire was put out, they found one low on the floor under the "bed," and it was actually OK. The other one got on top of shelves, and breathed in a lot of smoke. They couldn't afford hardly anything, so the resident and I who were on emergency duty barely charged them anything except the exam fee, even though we had their kitty on oxygen for an hour (which would have cost a LOT). He improved significantly over that hour, so we sent him home. Again, they couldn't afford to hospitalize him even one night, which we would have preferred. They promised to come back if he relapsed. A week later, we received a very sweet thank you note from them that he was doing fine, and how much they appreciated our kindness. Yes, we screwed the vet hospital out of at least $200, but sometimes you just do what you gotta do. These people lost their home, such as it was. I was just glad I was working with an equally compassionate resident who was not a stickler for "the rules."
And I'm not surprised that the brothers remembered each other! Cats' memories are underestimated by people. Red tabbies (orange tabbies) are the best. My sister just adopted a red tabby kitten for her daughter. His name is Ziggy.
I had two orange tabbys growing up. Just lost the second one at the beginning if the summer, he was 16. I was impressed he out lived his brother by 3 years those two were inseparable.