Georgina Harris’ cat Steve alerted her to a fire at their seven story apartment building in Clapham, London, UK.
Georgina says that Steve began acting strangely on the night of April 14 as she was getting ready for bed, with the indoor cat going to the door as though trying to direct her attention to something there, outside the door.
“I opened the door and there was nothing there so I went back to the sofa and suddenly Steve let out a meow I have never heard – he howled,” Georgina is quoted saying at This is Local, London.
“I opened the door again and looked around to see and could smell a terrific smell of smoke and saw a plume of smoke coming around the corner towards me.”
Once she realized there were smoke and flames, Georgina grabbed Steve and “tore down” the corridor to wake the building’s caretaker before making her way outside, where she and other residents waited in their pajamas for firefighters to come.
One resident was taken to the hospital. That man lived in the flat where the fire started, on the first floor.
London Fire Brigade watch manager Tom Furnell is quoted on the London Fire Brigade website saying: “The flat was full of smoke when firefighters wearing breathing apparatus found the man in a bedroom and carried him out. We also led 10 other people to safety down an internal staircase and around 50 people had left the building before the brigade arrived at the scene.
“The alarm was raised by a passerby who spotted smoke coming out of one of the flat’s windows. The flat where the fire started didn’t have a working smoke alarm. Having a working smoke alarm and testing it regularly is essential as they can buy you vital seconds to escape in the event of a fire.”