Friday, January 22, 2016

Couple forced to flee house fire caused by their puppy chewing a battery

A puppy has been blamed for starting a blaze in her owners' home that left them needing medical treatment. Iain and Siobhan MacGregor fled the flames and smoke - and even went back to rescue one-year-old firestarter Bracken and their other dog, Willow. Firefighters who put out the fire laid the blame with Bracken after they discovered the cause was a punctured lithium battery polymer battery.

Apparently Bracken had picked it up outside, taken it up to bed in the spare room and started chewing it, causing it to puncture and ignite. Mr MacGregor, 57, said: "I was on the computer downstairs and Siobhan was in the bath upstairs when suddenly she shouted down. I ran upstairs and there was thick black smoke on the ceiling and I could see flames a couple of feet high in the second bedroom, so I shut the door. The heat coming out of the room was really scary. Siobhan grabbed a sweater and jeans and we charged outside."

Firefighters arrived at the house in Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset, and put out the fire, which left the room gutted, after being called out shortly before noon last Wednesday. "Afterwards they found a lithium polymer battery in the spare room - I was completely puzzled as I'd never seen one before and we certainly didn't have one," said Mr MacGregor. "They think it must have fallen or been thrown into our drive or garden and Bracken picked it up, took it into the house, bit it, it started to smoke and she ran away when it burst into flames."

Mrs MacGregor, 49, was treated at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, for smoke inhalation, while her husband saw his GP this week after developing a chesty cough. He said: "We're lucky the house is Victorian - a firefighter said if it had been a modern flat, the ceilings are up to two feet lower and our heads would have been in the smoke as we tried to get out. We'd gone back to get Bracken and Willow and put them in the car. The firefighter said, 'I know which dog it was - she looks so guilty'. Bracken lives up to her name and retrieves anything. We couldn't put her in the doghouse though, because it's just what she does." Firefighters confirmed the cause of the fire to be accidental.

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