Hero cat saves family as fire wrecks home

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 his family after a blaze broke out in their home.

The amazing moggy raised the alarm as flames engulfed the kitchen while his owners Marie Smith (29) and her partner David Howlett slept in the neighbouring room on Tuesday morning.

As deadly smoke from the fire began to fill the house, where David’s daughter Claire Chambers (36) was also sleeping upstairs, the 15-year-old friendly feline scratched Marie to wake her up.

Marie then woke everyone else in the house, in Dozens Bank, West Pinchbeck, Spalding.

They were able to call for the emergency services and close the doors to help stop the fire from spreading any further in the house – which did not have smoke alarms fitted at the time.

They also rescued their five cats, four kittens and two dogs as well as their hamsters, gerbils and rabbits before fleeing the property.

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

Animal lover Marie said she knows Bandit is a very intelligent cat but she was amazed by his lifesaving antics.

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.”

Marie, David and Claire were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by ambulance paramedics but Claire needed further hospital treatment and spent five hours at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Marie and David normally sleep downstairs because Marie has asthma and suffers from a spinal problem while David also has disabilities affecting his spine and legs preventing him from sleeping upstairs.

Their home is also shared by Marie’s dad, Rod Bradshaw (47) but he was out at work when the blaze started shortly after 8am.

After the fire was extinguished firefighters from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service fitted smoke alarms in the rented property.

A spokesman said the fire was caused by a frying pan being left unattended.

There was fire damage to the pan, its contents, cooker and extractor hood and smoke damage to the rest of the kitchen including the appliances.