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Firefighters reunite rescued dog and owner after blaze

Published: 13th June 2017

A Sydney man has been reunited with his beloved dog Whiskey, six months after firefighters rescued the pair from a dangerous unit fire in South Penrith.

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters returned the happy Pomeranian to owner Gordon Wiggins yesterday following his release from hospital.

Recovering from burns to almost 50% of his body, Gordon thanked firefighters for saving him and his canine companion from the blaze on 10 December.

FRNSW crews quickly attacked the fire and found Gordon lying unconscious inside his home, carrying out CPR until paramedics arrived.

They also rescued two dogs from the unit. One sadly died at the scene, but firefighters used oxygen therapy to successfully revive the other dog, five-year-old Whiskey.

Covered in ash and trembling, Whiskey was taken to Nepean Animal Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and substantial burns. The hospital generously offered to cover the $15,000 bill for the dog’s treatment and medication.

In a touching twist, one of the firefighters on the scene, Antony Crowe, volunteered to take care of the dog while his owner remained in hospital. A senior firefighter at St Marys Fire Station, Antony said Whiskey had made a remarkable recovery.

“He’s still got some scaring on his back and a bit of cough due to the smoke inhalation, but otherwise he’s a normal, happy dog,” he said. “He’s quite a little character and he has the appetite of about 20 dogs. I’ve even seen him pinching food from our cat.”

Antony took Whiskey to visit Gordon at Royal North Shore Hospital during his rehabilitation and was on hand to return the dog yesterday. He was joined by other firefighters involved in the rescue, including crews from St Marys, Penrith, Cranebrook, Regentville and Glenbrook fire stations.

“As firefighters we don’t often get to see what happens to people once we finish at a fire scene, so it’s been really rewarding to meet Gordon and follow his recovery. If I hadn’t taken Whiskey I never would have had that opportunity,” said Antony.

FRNSW is reminding people to prepare their homes against the risk of fire this winter, as the cooler months see a 10% increase in the number of house fires in the bedroom and lounge.

To keep these areas of the house fire-safe, people should always keep household items ‘a metre from the heater’, turn off heaters and electric blankets before leaving home or getting into bed, keep candles away from curtains, avoid using LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors, clean lint filters in their clothes dryer before or after each use, avoid overloading powerboards, and ensure their home has a working smoke alarm.

For more winter fire safety information visit: http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=879