Little Keen Street resident Jimmy Davies, 80, owes his life to his blue heeler Bluey, 13, who woke him because of a caravan fire next to his house (in background).
Little Keen Street resident Jimmy Davies, 80, owes his life to his blue heeler Bluey, 13, who woke him because of a caravan fire next to his house (in background). Jacklyn Wagner

Dog saves 80yo owner from inferno

A ROARING inferno was the first thing eighty-year-old Jimmy Davies saw when his faithful old dog Bluey frantically woke him shortly before dawn yesterday.

And if it had not been for his loyal blue healer’s effort, it may have been the last thing he saw.

Mr Davies was fast asleep in his Little Keen Street home when the suspiciously lit fire engulfed a caravan less than a metre from his weatherboard house at about 3.45am.

The blaze destroyed the caravan and, according to firefighters, would have easily razed the house and two cars if not for the vigilance of MrDavies’ 13-year-old cattle dog, and the fast response of the emergency services.

“The dog woke me up and honestly saved my life,” said Mr Davies.

“He came into my room and just went crazy. He’s such a good old boy. My saviour. I’m very very lucky to be here.

“The coppers and the fire brigade were really good.

“I can’t speak highly enough, they got here so quick.

“You wouldn’t believe how aluminium and steel could burn. God almighty, you’ve got no idea how high the flames were.”

Once awake, Mr Davies rang the police who dispatched a car straight away and contacted the fire brigade.

Police were initially concerned someone may have been sleeping in the van as Mr Davies devotes much of his time to housing and feeding homeless people.

Two officers arrived within five minutes and immediately began hosing down the old timber house which was at imminent risk of igniting.

Police Inspector Gary Cowen said they were still unable to find the cause of the fire.

“We are appealing to witnesses who may have seen something and we are still trying to determine the owner of the van,” he said.

Lismore Fire Brigade Deputy Captain Tony Elliott praised the police, saying their hosing down of the house probably saved it.

“Early notification is crucial. If you have a fire call us first. We’d rather turn out to a false alarm than lose a house.”

Mr Davies retired to Little Keen Street 12 years ago after 25 years as a gardener at Tamworth Base Hospital.

He said he let a woman park the van there as she was in a jam, but he didn’t know how to contact her. He added that he did let homeless people sleep in it.

“That’s my life. I just feed people and animals. I enjoy it. It has backfired on me, but I keep doing it. It’s the only reason I’m here I guess,” he said.

“But Lismore has gone downhill. I can’t even go out at night any more. I’m a bit of a sitting duck here. I’ve been robbed three or four times.

“I think it’s the drug scene that’s causing it. I’ve never been on the dole and don’t take drugs or gamble.

“That’s how I’ve lived to eighty. It’s good to get to eighty.

“After this I might buy a lottery ticket.”

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