TWO Linlithgow men risked their lives to help their neighbours’ beloved pets when a house fire broke out on Sunday evening.
The Cochrane family, of Moray Drive, was distraught after the fire destroyed a bedroom in their house, and left the upper floor ruined by smoke damage.
However, they were relieved to have “great neighbours” as, the quick reaction of Colin Smith and his son David, saved the family pets Zigi and Elvis from the blaze.
This incident highlighted the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home as it was the noise that alerted the neighbours.
“My mum heard the smoke alarm go off right away but thought maybe someone had put some dinner on and forgotten about it,” David said.
“When it didn’t stop we figured something wasn’t right and we phoned 999. My dad, Colin, and I then went to make sure nobody was stuck in the house.”
On finding the house locked up, the Smiths got a ladder to check out the room which looked to be on fire.
“My dad was at the top of the ladder trying to see into the room but it was black with smoke. He then heard a crack and decided it was time to get away from the window in case the heat smashed the glass.”
The pair realised the Cochranes were out but spotted Zigi through a downstairs window.
David managed to force the window open and jumped in to save the dog from the building which was filling with smoke.
“After we got Zigi out I decided to have a look for Elvis, I was shouting on him but he was nowhere to be seen.
‘‘I made a dart for the top of the stairs but the smoke was so thick and the heat was unbearable. It was like opening an oven, I had to leave.”
Colin then made a dash for Elvis. His efforts were to no avail as the smoke was too thick.
In a matter of minutes the firefighters arrived and, wearing breathing apparatus and armed with a high pressure hose reel, extinguished the fire and found Elvis in another room.
Hugh (46) and Mary Anne Cochrane (39) paid tribute to their courageous neighbours saying: “We have always had a great relationship with the Smiths and we can’t thank them enough for this.”
Mary Anne, who was on her way to visit her mother in hospital when she heard about the blaze, said: ‘‘We are just thankful everyone is safe and the dogs got out.”
Hugh added: “I think this should be a wake up call to anyone who doesn’t have their smoke alarms working to do something about it.”
The couple thanked family and friends who have helped house their five children, Taylor (19), Nathan (17), Connor (15), Kieran (13) and Zefron (11), while the clean-up takes place, and Anne at Bobtails in Bo’ness for giving the dogs a well-deserved free pamper.
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service is unsure of the source of the fire.