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‘I couldn’t leave without the dogs.’ - Heroic father tells of daring rescue from blaze

PUBLISHED: 17:30 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 30 January 2018

William Burrell who saved two dogs from the house on fire at Gorleston at the weekend. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

William Burrell who saved two dogs from the house on fire at Gorleston at the weekend. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A father has told how he burst into a blazing inferno to save the lives of two helpless dogs.

Firefighters attend the scene of a house fire on Addison Road, Gorleston.
Picture: Nick ButcherFirefighters attend the scene of a house fire on Addison Road, Gorleston. Picture: Nick Butcher

William Burrell, of Belton, was on the way to collect medicine with his mother, sister and five-year-old niece when he spotted what he initially thought was mist billowing above a Gorleston home.

After stopping to see what was happening, Mr Burrell saw the mist was, in fact, smoke, with the Addinson Road home ablaze.

Mr Burrell, 35, said: “There was thick black smoke coming from the house and the dogs were going mental in the garden. My first thought was that I had to get them out of there.

“I managed to break through the fence but I think the dogs got startled and both ran into the house through a flap.”

With both the dogs - a Bassett Hound and a Labrador puppy - trapped inside Mr Burrell smashed through the patio and shielding himself with his coat dashed in after the pets.

He said: “My sister was yelling at me to get out but I couldn’t leave without the dogs. If I didn’t save me, that puppy’s face would have haunted me for the rest of my life - it looked just like my own dog Benny.”

After charging into the house, the Bassett Hound fled, but the puppy remained frozen in fear, until Mr Burrell picked him up and made his escape.

Jane Burrell-Claxton, his mother, said: “I was terrified knowing he was in there and I felt he was in there an age. However, the moment he came running out of the smoke was like a film.”

Mr Burrell, an offshore worker, said he has since spoken to the home owners, who he says were in shock but incredibly grateful for his actions.

The blaze began at around 11.30am on Sunday and took fire crews some nine hours to extinguish.

Neighbour Dorothy Forster, 68, said: “It was terrible, the whole road filled with thick, black smoke.”

Pamela Boon, another neighbour, added: “It must be devastating for the couple - they have lost everything.”

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