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Dog hailed a hero after alerting sleeping family to fire minutes before it entered home

PUBLISHED: 14:23 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:23 05 July 2019

Chico, the two-year-old Staffordshire terrior that woke his family as a fire raged outside. Photo: Bethany Wales

Chico, the two-year-old Staffordshire terrior that woke his family as a fire raged outside. Photo: Bethany Wales

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Two-year-old Chico has shown he has real puppy power after alerting his sleeping family to a fire that was raging metres from their bedroom window.

The remains of a garden shed on Vera Road, Hellesdon, which burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. Photo: Bethany WalesThe remains of a garden shed on Vera Road, Hellesdon, which burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. Photo: Bethany Wales

A 28-year-old Norwich man, his girlfriend and her three-month-old baby were woken just before 7am on Friday by his two-year-old Staffordshire terrier barking downstairs.

At first they ignored the dog, but were quickly alerted to the fire blazing outside their Hellesdon home when smoke began pouring through the window.

Looking outside, the family saw the garden shed in their Vera Road home engulfed by flames, high enough to scorch the top of the surrounding trees.

The man, who did not want to be named, said: "I can't believe nobody was hurt. When I think about how close it came to the house being burned it terrifies me. The fire was huge; I have never seen anything like it."

Cracked bedroom windows in the aftermath of a fire on Vera Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Bethany WalesCracked bedroom windows in the aftermath of a fire on Vera Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Bethany Wales

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Within 10 minutes firefighters from Carrow and Sprowston arrived on scene, battling the blaze for nearly two hours before it was extinguished.

Police joined them at the property and blocked cars from entering the road.

Fire Station manager Emyr Gough said the cracked and blackened glass on the bedroom windows were a stark sign of how close the family had come to a tragic ending.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a large shed fire on Vera Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Bethany WalesFirefighters were called to the scene of a large shed fire on Vera Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Bethany Wales

He added: "This fire was minutes away from breaking through the windows. You can see thermal fracturing on the inside and outside of the glass and there is a real chance this could have resulted in death."

The officer urged people to check their smoke alarms and to take extra care when lighting barbeques and smoking cigarettes in the dry summer months. He added: "This fire was started accidently and unfortunately it's easy for it to happen. Please be vigilant."

The family, who are staying with friends while their windows are repaired, said they could not thank the fire brigade enough for their fast actions.

The 28-year-old added: "We wouldn't be here without Chico either; he's a real hero. I haven't stopped kissing him all day."

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