Hero cat saves three people from dying in blaze

David Howlett and Marie Smith in the damaged kitchen with Bandit, the hero cat. Picture: Mike Davison/JP
David Howlett and Marie Smith in the damaged kitchen with Bandit, the hero cat. Picture: Mike Davison/JP
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BANDIT the hero cat saved the lives of three people when fire broke out in a kitchen at a home in West Pinchbeck.

Marie Smith and her partner David Howlett were asleep in the adjoining living room as flames engulfed the cooker on Tuesday morning.

Deadly smoke began to fill the living room but the couple’s 15-year-old cat scratched Marie, who woke up and raised the alarm.

David’s daughter, Claire Chambers, was asleep upstairs.

The family dialled 999, rescued their pets and then fled the house.

Marie, David and Claire were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by ambulance paramedics – Claire (36) needed further treatment and spent five hours at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday) Claire said: “I am a bit better but not a lot.”

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue put out the fire and then installed smoke detectors at the rented property in Dozens Bank.

David, who is in his 50s, said: “The fire brigade said ‘If the cat hadn’t woke you up, you would have been dead’.”

Animal lover Marie says Bandit is a very intelligent cat.

She said: “I didn’t expect him to do something like that, which I am amazed by. He can actually talk. He can say things like ‘hello’ but people don’t believe me he can talk.”

Fire has wrecked most of the kitchen appliances and the family do not have insurance.

Marie (29) said their landlord has offered to help as much as he can.

Marie has asthma and sleeps downstairs because of a spinal problem - and David also has disabilities affecting his spine and legs.

They shut doors before leaving the house to help stop the fire spreading. The home is shared by Marie’s dad, Rod Bradshaw (47), but he was out at work when the blaze started shortly after 8am.

The family have five cats, four kittens and two dogs as well as hamsters, gerbils and rabbits.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said the fire was caused by a frying pan left unattended. There was fire damage to the pan, contents, cooker and extractor hood and smoke damage to the rest of the kitchen.