Dog credited with saving lives in Belfast blaze

''Gizmo' the dog alerted the family to the house fire
''Gizmo' the dog alerted the family to the house fire

A leading firefighter has spoken out after a pet dog helped to save eight people from a blaze.

The NI Fire and Rescue Service said that firefighters were alerted to the blaze on the Falls Road, in the west of the city, at 6:08am.

The NI Fire and Rescue Service

The NI Fire and Rescue Service

Two adults and six children – aged between three and six – were inside the house, and one female was treated for burns to her arm.

The fire stemmed from a plug connected to an upright multi-socket extension lead.

It then spread to the mattress of a bed in which a teenage girl was sleeping. It was extinguished by 6.45am.

There was no working fire alarm in the house, but the barking of a small dog called Gizmo alerted its sleeping inhabitants.

Group Commander O’Neill told the News Letter that there have already been three fatal fires so far this year, adding: “It was just good fortune that the family on the Falls Road weren’t added to that statistic...

“In this case the family were very fortunate – the dog did waken them.”

However, he added “it isn’t the most reliable was of being wakened,” and pleaded with householders to make sure they have functioning alarms fitted.

He also praised the family in question for getting out of the house and staying out, adding that some people have been known to return to burning buildings to retrieve belongings.

In January, Ellen Finnegan died following a fire in a house where there was no functioning alarm.