Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Firemen save life of bungalow blaze cat

10:44 23 January 2013

A recovering Baby is pictured with veterinary nurse Kim Kendall at the North Devon Animal Ambulance special care unit in the Market Veterinary Centre, Barnstaple.

A recovering Baby is pictured with veterinary nurse Kim Kendall at the North Devon Animal Ambulance special care unit in the Market Veterinary Centre, Barnstaple.

Archant

Barnstaple fire fighters rescue and resuscitate family pet after blaze rips through home.

"I was just crying and convinced she was dead."

Owner Mandy Chapple.

A GRATEFUL owner has praised fire fighters who brought her cat back to life after rescuing it from her blazing home.

Two fire crews from Barnstaple’s Green Watch were called to the bungalow in Bingham Crescent just after 3pm on Sunday, to be met with smoke and flames billowing from the building.

A distressed Mandy Chapple told them her cat Baby was still inside and fire fighters donned breathing apparatus before entering the house to fight the fire.

Mandy’s sister Kim had already managed to drag her dogs Gerrard and Marley from the house, with six-year-old collie Gerrard at first refusing to leave the cat.

"Out of a dreadful situation they have managed to avert a real tragedy."

Diana Lewis, North Devon Animal Ambulance.

The fire fighters emerged with a soot-covered lifeless cat, but undaunted, managed to fit a mask to Baby’s head and give her oxygen.

A distraught Mandy could no longer bear to watch, but amazingly, after heart massage and 15 minutes of oxygen, 19-year-old Baby began to revive.

“I know it has been done before on other animals, but it’s the first time we as watch have done it,” said Watch Manager Steve Isaac.

“Our first priority was to fight the fire and stop it spreading to neighbouring properties, but once we’d knocked it down enough we were able to search for the cat.

"Obviously human life is our first priority, but any life is there to be rescued."

Watch Manager Steve Isaac, DSFRS.

“Obviously human life is our first priority, but any life is there to be rescued.”

The animals were collected from the scene by Diana Lewis of North Devon Animal Ambulance. Baby and Gerrard were treated for smoke inhalation but are recovering and the clinic is looking after them until Mandy can find a new home.

Mrs Lewis said but for the ‘amazing’ actions of the fire service, the cat would have died: “Out of a dreadful situation they have managed to avert a real tragedy – although she has lost her home at least they saved her animals.

“The firemen were wonderful, they gave the same care to that cat that they would have done for a child.

“There was nowhere for the animals to go, so the charity is taking care of the animals until Mandy can get everything sorted out.”

The fire destroyed one room of the house and the rest was damaged by heat and smoke. The cause is thought to have been accidental.

Mandy said she had only left the house for a few minutes: “One minute the bungalow was there, the next it was on fire. When they brought Baby out she was completely black – I was just crying and convinced she was dead.

“The firemen were absolutely brilliant, I can’t praise them enough and they were there so quickly – I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to them for all their help.

“People have been so kind and the community spirit has been amazing. My family and friends have been brilliant, everyone has rallied around, it’s been overwhelming.”

The only casualty to the flames was one of Mandy’s hamsters. Kim managed to save one of the pair but could not reach the other.

Black Labrador Marley, aged four, seems to have escaped unscathed, but Gerrard is still receiving treatment, as is Baby, who is on antibiotics to prevent pneumonia.

“I have had Gerrard since he was five weeks old and they were brought up together,” said Mandy.

“He would not leave her and was trying to get her to move. My sister kept calling him and eventually he came out.”

Mandy and her son Josh have been staying with her mother while North Devon Homes helps them to find new housing.

“My friend Carol Lewis has been absolutely brilliant, she has been posting messages on Facebook, asking people to get things for me,” she added.

“People have been so kind and the community spirit has been amazing.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Torrington Mayfair 2016. Pictures: Sarah Howells

Torrington celebrated its annual Mayfair tradition today (Thursday) - view the photos and catch up on the action here.

Read more
31 minutes ago
Natalie Jones. Picture: Michelle Ley

A 31-year-old has been charged with causing the death of Ilfracombe’s Natalie Jones after fatal collision last August.

Read more
09:30
Chulmleigh RNIB volunteer Christine Smith has been responsible for raising three quarters of a million pounds for the charity.

Christine Smith has dedicated more than 40 years to the RNIB plus countless other local and national charities

Read more
08:00
Westcroft School pupils with the old uniform they are donating to Oxfam. Picture: Sarah Howells

Two Bideford school and merged and donated their old uniforms to help families in Africa.

Read more
The Bideford Secondary Modern reunion at Durrant House Hotel. Picture: Sarah Howells

The Bideford Secondary Modern girls’ reunited at the at the Durrant House Hotel after 65 years.

Read more
09:31
Author Stephanie M Turner shows the new book to some of the Combe Martin Primary School pupils who contributed.

Short stories written by Combe Martin schoolchildren have made it into a professionally published book.

Read more
07:30
Nicole Hickin, co-ordinator at the WOW North Devon Scrap Store. Picture: Sarah Howells

Volunteers are needed at project in Barnstaple which promotes reusing waste for a sustainable future.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:36

Councillors turn down controversial proposals to earmark the region for wind energy

Read more
Yesterday, 17:16
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones (right) with Steve Crowther, Michael Pagram, Joanne Bell, Mark Cann and David Chalmers on the estuary near the Yelland site.

Cross party call for end to ‘planning vacuum’ that favours developers

Read more
Yesterday, 12:18
Barnstaple's Queens Theatre

North Devon councillors have agreed an offer from North Devon Theatres Trust for the leasehold of the Queen’s Theatre and the Landmark Theatre.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications