Guide dog leads blind Derbyshire woman to safety after house fire

A blind woman from Derbyshire had a lucky escape when a fire broke out in her home - thanks to her guide dog.

Thursday, 28th April 2016, 4:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 3:11 pm
Liz Martin and her guide dog Pixie.

A small fire started in Liz Martin’s kitchen when an oven glove was left stuck in the door of her cooker as it was in use. Thanks to the Carelink smoke alarms fitted into the property, the alarm was quickly raised.

And luckily, Liz’s guide dog Pixie also knew what to do as the alarm sounded and made sure Liz was led to safety.

Liz, who lives in Buxton, had previously attended a fire safety talk by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety Officer Sandra Webb, who said: “This incident shows the importance of the information we give to our communities at local fire safety talks.

The damage to Liz's cooker after the fire.

“Liz was well aware that an escape plan is essential to ensure you know what to do in the event of a fire and was able to act quickly on hearing her alarm sound; amazingly Pixie, Liz’s faithful guide dog, also knew what to do and the importance of getting out of the property as quickly and safely as possible, and guided Liz to her neighbour’s house.”

On arrival at the property fire crews from Buxton fire station found that Liz’s neighbours had been quick to act and were able to extinguish the fire themselves before it was able to spread and cause major damage.

Kelly France, from the charity Guide Dogs, said: “We’re really pleased to hear that through a mixture of Liz’s fire safety planning and guide dog Pixie’s quick actions, Liz was guided to safety. Guide Dogs are highly trained and skilled animals who can form a remarkable bond with their owners. It is amazing to know that not only has Pixie helped to give Liz freedom and independence on a daily basis, she’s also helped to support Liz in a situation that could have been potentially life threatening.”

Liz Martin said: “It was quite a frightening experience for me and I’m thankful to everyone for their help and support and of course, extremely thankful that I had working smoke alarms that alerted me and Pixie to the fire in my kitchen, allowing us to get out, and stay out until the

The damage to Liz's cooker after the fire.

emergency services arrived.”

Roger Burnett from High Peak Borough Council said: “The most important thing is that Liz and Pixie are both safe.  This is a perfect example of how our Carelink service enables vulnerable people to live independently and safely in their own home.  Whilst the neighbours had extinguished the fire, the smoke alarm was linked directly to a monitoring centre which alerted the fire service, saving valuable time.”

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind people of the following fire safety advice:

• Never leave cooking unattended.

• Ensure your home is fitted with working smoke alarms on every level of the property.

• Test your smoke alarm is working on a weekly basis.