Pet cat saves owners' lives as fire tears through house


Jenny Ferguson was alerted to the fire by her cat

By Cara Sulieman

A PET cat saved its owners lives by waking them up while a fire tore through their house.

Ken Page and Jenny Ferguson were sleeping in their home in Athelstaneford, East Lothian when the blaze broke out in their kitchen.

But thankfully their terrified moggy made such a commotion that it woke them up.

The pair, both 64, were able to call the fire brigade before the flames got out of control.

Fire chiefs said the house didn’t have a smoke detector installed, meaning that the cat’s actions were the only clues of the growing blaze.

The fire broke out at around 1am this morning at the small cottage in the picturesque village near Haddington.

Both Ken and Jenny were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from smoke inhalation, with Ken also being treated for burns on his hands.

But yesterday afternoon Jenny returned to the home with a relative to clean up and collect her belongings before going to stay with relatives.

She said: “I’m fine. My partner is okay, he’s still in the hospital but he’ll be fine.

“It was the cat making noises that woke us up.

“The cat is fine – she’s been here in the back garden all morning.

“There is a lot of smoke damage. We can’t live here.

“It is just the kitchen really but we can’t stay here just now.”

The house where the fire broke out

Jenny was too distressed to talk any more about what happened, but a neighbour said that the black and white moggy had saved the couple’s lives.

The woman – who did not want to be named – visited the couple’s home to see how they were after hearing about the fire on the news.

She said: “I used to work beside Jenny but she left a few years ago to go work with Ken – he’s a cook at the Conservative Club in Haddington.

“They have had a number of cats across the years.

“Seems like the cat saved their lives.”

The little village came to a standstill as emergency services arrived to deal with the blaze.

Colin Armstrong, who lives behind the couple’s house, was woken by the noise and went to see what was happening.

He said: “At around 1am all the fire engines were down there along with the ambulance and police.

“There was smoke everywhere. The fire brigade weren’t away till about 4am – they didn’t leave until they had made sure the property was safe.

“It really was quite atrocious.

“They took them to hospital – I saw her getting in the ambulance.

“They have been in the village a few years. I don’t really know her very well but Ken’s a nice man.

“I did hear the firemen say something about a cat, but I never saw one there.”

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said that the couple had a lucky escape.

She added: “Not everybody has a cat so finely tuned as this one clearly was, so a smoke detector is a must for every home.

“From what we understand, there wasn’t any smoke detection device in the property.

“A smoke detector is the best way to give yourself a chance of an early warning.

“We will happily set them up for free in people’s homes.

“Peace of mind for people to protect themselves and their pets costs nothing.

“We are really glad that the couple only suffered minor injuries, but it is important to get across the message that smoke detectors save far more lives than cats do.”