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

Yesterday, 17:00
Developers say they are closer to finding a solution for Barnstaple’s historic Oliver Buildings. Picture: Andy Keeble

More details emerge about ideas for Oliver Buildings as Historic England amends listing and developers reject 100k bid to buy historic Barnstaple buildings

Read more
Yesterday, 11:42
Jack Johns has been taking the 22 press up challenge to new heights - literally!

Ex-forces personal trainer Jack Johns, 47, is scaling buildings, lampposts and even diggers to carry out press up challenge.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:02

Police appeal for witnesses after collision on Friday at the A361 Bolham roundabout near Tiverton.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:14

The independent secondary school has announced it will close next year due to mounting costs.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:03
The Legendary Grand Tour mini run in Bideford on Monday. Pictures: GRAHAM HOBBS

Towns and villages came to life yesterday (Monday) as hundreds of minis took part in the annual Legendary Grand Tour.

Read more
Mon, 09:19
Appledore's last night at the proms. Pictures: Graham Hobbs

Hundreds of people packed onto Appledore Quay yesterday (Sunday) for an evening of musical entertainment.

Read more
Mon, 08:55
The fire at South Molton yesterday (Sunday).

Fire fighters were called out to the incident at Holdridge Cross yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.

Read more
Mon, 08:38
The Businesses of Bideford are already planning a spooky Halloween.

The Businesses of Bideford are planning a bumper celebration for Wicked Week this October half term.

Read more
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Diesel's family and friends with their tribute to him at Ilfracombe Carnival 2016. Picture: Tony Gussin

Costumed mayhem as Ilfracombe celebrates carnival night

Read more
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Boxer cross Harley has plenty of life.

With Dogs Trust Ilfracombe

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 15°C

Most Read News

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