A DOG called Jazz is being hailed a lifesaver after she helped save her owners from a house fire.
The petite chihuahua howled so loudly when arsonists set fire to a motorbike parked next to their semi-detached house in Raffles Avenue, Carlisle, that her owners were left in no doubt there was something horribly wrong.
Jeanette Riddick, 47, and her partner Lewis Costa, 43, had been asleep in bed.
But woken by their pet, the couple discovered Lewis’s Yamaha motorbike, parked at their back door, had been set on fire. Flames were lapping at their living room wall.
The heat of the blaze was so intense that it cracked the living room window, and was about to spread to the house.
Jazz’s early warning meant that the couple had enough time to escape and call the fire service – and time to rescue their other pets, a cat called Mitsy, Tigger the kitten and a hamster called Keith.
“We have smoke alarms but it was Jazz’s howling that woke us up,” said Jeanette, who has lived in the three-bedroom semi for 11 years. “We’d gone to bed as normal but it was about 4.30am when Jazz started howling.
“I woke up and I could smell burning rubber. I realised straightaway there was something wrong and so I jumped out of bed and then I saw the motorbike on fire.”
Fortunately, Jeanette’s 16-year-old daughter Jodie, whose bedroom is at the back of the house and above where the bike was parked, was away for the night.
“The police say they are treating the fire as malicious.
“I was in tears after it happened, and kept thinking about what would have happened if Jodie had been sleeping in that room with the window open.
“Jazz is a brilliant little dog.
“We’re just glad she woke us with her howling.
“If it had gone on for another five or 10 minutes, the window would have gone and the fire would have been in the living room.”
Jeanette said she wanted to thank the fire service and a taxi driver who a short time after they were woken knocked on their door to tell them he had spotted smoke at the back of the house.
Anybody who has information about how the fire was started should contact Cumbria police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.