HE MAY only be small, but Alfie the spaniel has become the hero of Abbeydale after saving the lives of his neighbours.
The four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel raised the alarm in the middle of the night following an arson attack on the bungalows in Johnson Close.
His owner Glynis James woke shortly after 2am to the sound of Alfie continually barking – something he does not usually do. She sensed there was something wrong and went outside to discover her neighbours were in danger.
Three bungalows were affected by the fire, which is being linked with other arsons in previous weeks by police, and when emergency services arrived they discovered the residents still sleeping inside, meaning without the dog’s intervention their lives could have been at risk.
Glynis told the Standard: “I didn’t know if anyone was in there. I couldn’t see down the close it was that thick with smoke.
“Alfie was out with me all night, he was as good as gold. I am the only one who has a dog. If I hadn’t had him God knows what would have happened.
“He only did what a dog would do, usually if he barks I listen and if anybody goes past the back I tell him to stop and he will. He wasn’t going to stop as he knew there was something wrong.”
As well as sending treats to Alfie, including a £25 gift voucher donated by Pets At Home after they were approached by mayor Pat Witherspoon who visited those affected with council leader Bill Hartnett, the community has responded by organising a fund-raiser to try to replace some of the belongings the residents affected lost in the fire.
Rachel Rogers and her family are set to host a fun day at the Abbeydale Club on September 20, from 1pm onwards.
The day will include a human fruit machine, tombola, disco and cake stall with organisers hoping residents and organisations will come forward with prizes for them to raffle off.
All the proceeds will be split between the affected residents and another man targeted by arsonists two weeks before the Johnson Close fire.
Rachel said: “It’s a shock to the community.
“The residents have lost everything and one of the couples has been on the estate for 52 years.
“We want to give back to them what they’ve given to us and to the community. It’s nice to give something back and I know they would have done a similar thing for us.
“We need to get the community back together.
“They are lovely people and wouldn’t hurt anybody, they didn’t deserve it. They could have died in there.
“We will raise what we can to replace what they need but we can never replace the most important things.”
For more information or to donate a prize to the raffle, call Rachel on 07788 595570.
The bungalows gutted by arsonists.