Relief as spaniel Lexi saves the day

Debbie Dunn with Lexi at the scene of the fire.'Staff photograph
Debbie Dunn with Lexi at the scene of the fire.'Staff photograph

A DUN woman this week told how she escaped serious injury in a fire after her dog woke her in the early hours to alert her to the danger.

Debbie Dunn, North Lodge, House of Dun, was woken by her year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lexi, at around 3.30am on Thursday to find a coal store adjoining her house was in flames. The blaze was in danger of spreading to adjacent buildings, including outhouses where Debbie had lodged several guinea pigs and another spaniel she was looking after for her daughter Laura, but Lexi’s prompt action meant that all survived unscathed.

The proud owner said: “I was aware of Lexi jumping on my bed and standing over me. I thought she was maybe wanting out but she rarely does during the night, and if she does she paws at the door. I could feel her sitting bolt upright and she was whining, so I knew something wasn’t right. She was looking at the curtains at the back of house and was rigid, and that’s when I heard the crackling noise and saw the orange glow through the curtains.”

Debbie ran out of the back door to find the coal store well alight, with flames the same height as her single-storey house, sparks blowing across her garden and the shed next door, which housed the 10 guinea pigs, thick with smoke.

She said: “I don’t think there was a door left on the shed at that point. I realised that I couldn’t get past the flames to get to the guinea pigs so I ran to the kennel next door, got my daughter’s dog out and put her in the car. The hall was starting to fill up with smoke so I got my own two dogs, one of which has just had eight puppies, out too. When I saw the smoke that was in the kennel, I really thought the guinea pigs were dead.”

By this time Debbie had contacted Tayside Fire and Rescue, and firefighters from Montrose were at the scene within about 15 minutes and brought the blaze, which is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, under control. She pointed out where the guinea pigs were kept and one of the firefighters emerged from the shed with the news that they were all alive.

Debbie said: “The sheds have really thick stone walls and I think that’s what must have saved them, although if the fire had got in to the roof space it would have been a different story. I’m just amazed they survived.”

Although Debbie has a smoke alarm in her house, it failed to go off an on examination was found to be faulty.

She added: “It wouldn’t have gone off, so if it hadn’t been for Lexi it could have been much worse. She’s being spoiled rotten at the moment. She’s very fond of custard creams and has had quite a few of those, and she’s getting lots of cuddles.”