A COUPLE have thanked the “brilliant” firefighters who saved their puppy from a blaze.

Tony and Tina Walther returned to their home to find the kitchen of their Grade II listed home in Colchester Road, White Colne, engulfed in fire.

Their Cocker Spaniel, Tilly, was trapped inside the kitchen but was rescued from the blaze.

Mr Walther, 73, said two rubbish collectors had spotted the fire.

He said: “The two guys who come to clear up the dustbins had turned up just after we left.

“The dustmen, God bless them, spotted the flames and ran next door and told my sister who then phoned the fire brigade.

“They tried to get in because they knew we had a dog in here.

“The dustmen could hear her scratching, that’s why they kicked the door in because they could hear something.

“Bless their hearts, they kicked this door in but because it was so full of black smoke they couldn’t see anything in there.”

Fire crews arrived and set to work trying to extinguish the fire but there was no sign of Tilly.

Mr Walther added: “The firemen looked in here and said ‘There’s nothing, the dog’s not in here’.

“But Tina looked through the window and luckily she could just spot a little patch of the dog’s back, so they got her out, which was a miracle really because the heat in here must have been immense.”


Mrs Walther, 60, was extremely thankful to the fire brigade.

She said: “We can’t praise them enough. If they hadn’t have acted so quickly, then we simply wouldn’t have a house.

“I just can’t sing their praises enough.

“Wonderful guys and you just don’t realise what they actually risk their own lives. They’re just fantastic.”

Mr Walther also said: “We owe them a debt of gratitude, we could have lost a hell of a lot more if it hadn’t been for them.”

Watch manager Steve Byrne, at Halstead fire station, said: “Despite the heavy smoke, our firefighters were able to locate the dog which was hiding next to the fridge.

“We brought Tilly outside to safety and gave her oxygen. Ultimately our job is to save lives and protect our public, so to be able to save this family’s pet was the happy ending we always want to see.”

The fire brigade believe the blaze started in the dishwasher.