Evans Head resident Pat Clark with her dog, Sassy, who raised the alarm when a fire broke out in their neighbour?s home.
Evans Head resident Pat Clark with her dog, Sassy, who raised the alarm when a fire broke out in their neighbour?s home.

Sassy and a smoke alarm to the rescue

By ZOE SATHERLEY

SASSY, the long-haired dachshund, is the real hero of the Evans Head fire that could have destroyed the dream home of a young couple next door.

The eight-year-old dog raised the alarm about 2am on Sunday by barking for her owners, Pat and Keith Clark, of Cyprus Street, to wake up.

A smoke detector alarm was beeping and she knew something was wrong.

Pat Clark was the first to stir. She could hear a funny beeping, but wasn't sure what it was.

Getting out of bed and looking outside she saw a red glow in the next door neighbour's kitchen.

The neighbours were away for the weekend.

Pat woke her husband, who sprang over the fence in nothing more than his red underpants, while she rang 000. She then raced into the shed to get a hammer with which to break the kitchen window.

Friends were staying over for the night and they helped use a garden hose to extinguish the flames through the broken window.

Pat said the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen stove and may have been due to an electrical fault. It melted an air-conditioner and destroyed part of the kitchen.

When the fire brigade arrived minutes later, they smashed down the front door of the house to get access to fully extinguish the flames.

Yesterday, the devastated owners of the newly-renovated house had returned from their weekend away, but did not want to comment.

However, they praised their neighbours for saving their home and encouraged people to install a hard-wired fire alarm which they believe alerted their neighbours and the dog.

On Sunday, Pat and Keith Clark made a special trip to the hardware store to buy themselves a smoke detector.

"Every home should have one," Pat said.

"We used to have a cheaper model that kept going off.

"The constant beeping was annoying so we disconnected it.

"This time we have gone for a better model.

"The fire alarm going off is what saved that house. It's a timber home and it would have gone up in flames in no time at all.

"Another neighbour heard the beeping about 12.15am, but didn't realise what it was. Perhaps a different sound would work better to warn people."



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