Dog saves family in Tosside farm blaze drama

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Cassie is pictured on the farm with her owner Mr George Owen. (s)

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Cassie is pictured on the farm with her owner Mr George Owen. (s)

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A REAL-life “Lassie” saved a Ribble Valley farming family from what could have been an “absolutely horrific” fire.

Four-year-old lurcher Cassie raised the alarm at Pendle View Farm, Tosside, after a barn containing a diesel tank caught fire metres from the family’s home.

“If Cassie hadn’t raised the alarm it could’ve been absolutely horrific,” recalled Helen Owen (41), who lives on the farm with her father George (66) and 24-year-old brother Sam. “She literally saved the day!”

The blaze started at 5 a.m. last Thursday while the Owen family were asleep.

After the alarm was raised by Cassie, the family dialled 999 and a fire crew from Clitheroe and one from Settle made the 20-minute journey to the remote farm.

Recalling the drama, Helen said: “There’s a diesel tank in the old barn where the fire started and the fire could’ve easily spread to our home as it’s just opposite.

“We were extremely lucky on the night of the fire as my brother had forgotten to lock the back door when he came in from a night out and Cassie, who normally sleeps outside, managed to open the back door and get in.

“Sam heard the back door open and went downstairs. That’s when he saw the barn on fire and alerted me, while Cassie ran into my dad’s bedroom and got him up, too.”

Helen added: “Sam tried the fire extinguishers, but the fire was too big. His girlfriend Claire called the fire brigade and filled buckets of water while Sam and I doused the fire and dad went to isolate the electrics then came to help us.

“Because we are so remote it took 20 minutes for firefighters to arrive. The fire had got a good hold, but we managed to put the fire out with buckets of water and a hose so it was just smouldering by the time the fire brigade arrived. They said we had done really well.”

The blaze caused in the region of £9,000-worth of damage to the barn and tools stored there.

Dave McGrath, Clitheroe Fire Station watch manager, said it is believed a short circuit in the wiring in the barn started the fire.

The thankful Owen family meanwhile have described Cassie as their “little hero”.

“As soon as Cassie saw all was safe she brought her ball to play, her favourite pastime,” Helen added. “Cassie follows my dad everywhere and is totally devoted to him. She is a lovely dog with a kind temperament and our little hero. If it hadn’t been for Cassie I dread to think what would have happened.”