Edinburgh man tells of moment he ran back into burning building in Peffer Street to save his dog

Edinburgh resident describes the moment he decided to run into burning building to save his dog

An Edinburgh resident who ‘bolted’ into his smoke filled stairwell to rescue his beloved dog has described the terrifying ordeal that saw him rushed to hospital.

The blaze took place at 6pm on Peffer Street on Wednesday and saw multiple fire crews descend on the scene. Colin Conlan, who has lived on Peffer Street for nearly two years was in Omans Bar– a nearby pub on the same street – when friends alerted him about the blaze a few doors down.

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Mr Conlan, said: “A friend came into the pub and said ‘Colin, the top landing is on fire’, so I bolted out and my first thought was my dog. My partner and my dog are all I’ve got in my life – they are my life.” Ignoring calls from onlookers who were ‘shouting and screaming’ for him not to enter the burning property, Mr Conlan rushed up three flights of stairs to locate his two-year pup, Nico, who he’s only had for a few months.

Colin Conlan rescued his two-year-old pup Nico from a house fire on Peffer Street on Wednesday May 24Colin Conlan rescued his two-year-old pup Nico from a house fire on Peffer Street on Wednesday May 24
Colin Conlan rescued his two-year-old pup Nico from a house fire on Peffer Street on Wednesday May 24

Mr Conlan said: “When I got up to the second landing and I couldn’t see – my eyes were nipping and I was coughing and I got a fright. That’s when my brain started moving rapidly and I thought how am I going to get up there. But I kept saying to myself – I’m going to get up there. A guy tried to pull me back down but I said leave me to it, my dog is not dying today. And that’s when I just went for it.”

Covering his face with his t-shirt, Mr Conlan ‘walked blind’ across the third floor landing, using the bannister to make his way to his property. But upon entering his flat that was ‘covered in smoke’ there was no sign of his best friend. Mr Conlan said: “When I got in the flat I went to the living room but I didn’t see him. Normally he is sitting on the sofa playing with his toys. But when I went through to the bedroom and I found him shaking in the corner under a sofa."

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Thinking quickly, Mr Conlan ran to the bathroom, dousing a towel with water before covering Nico with the towel. Mr Conlan said: “Then I thought ‘right I’m going to have to take a gamble here because there could be larger fire in the stairwell now – but my dog comes first. When I got out of the door the first thing I saw was a torch hitting me and there was a fireman who got a hold of me and took us down.”

Mr Conlan was one of two residents taken to hospital on May 24 but he was later discharged on the same evening. Several flats have since been evacuated whilst the structural integrity of the four-storey building is assessed and Mr Conlan along with other residents remain in temporary accommodation. He said: “I know I shouldn’t have gone back into the flat but I wasn’t caring – Nico is my dog. I took the gamble and luckily it paid off and we’re both fine – but I know I’m a lucky man.”

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