Hero firefighters use tiny oxygen mask to bring cat back to life after Leith blaze

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The crew worked for half an hour to save the life of the beloved family pet

A Leith family has thanked the ‘hero’ firefighters who worked for half an hour to save their cat Nala after a blaze destroyed their house on Sandport Way.

Shannon Johnston, 20, said her cat is ‘lucky to be alive’ after firefighters rescued her from an electrical fire yesterday.

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“They went into the dangerous fire to save her. They worked on her for half an hour - she was actually dead but they saved her, she came back to life,” she said.

Pictures supplied by Shannon Johnston.Pictures supplied by Shannon Johnston.
Pictures supplied by Shannon Johnston. | other

The fire broke out at 7.30am yesterday at the flat where Ms Johnston lives with her mother, Ruth, and 18-year-old sister Jasmine.

Ms Johnston and her mother were at work, while Jasmine was ‘very luckily’ staying with her grandfather.

Ms Johnston said she ‘panicked’ when neighbours called to tell her about the fire.

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But then instinct kicked in, and she asked neighbours to tell the fire service that the cat was still in the flat.

Firefighters entered the burning building to rescue the terrified creature, and then gave lifesaving treatment on the street outside.

“I hate to think she was alone in there, she must have been so scared,” Ms Johnston said of the ‘cuddly wee’ two-year-old Nala.

The fire was caused by an electrical plug, but firefighters told Ms Johnston they could not be sure of the exact circumstances.

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The flames destroyed a cabinet of photos of Ms Johnston’s father, who died three years ago.

Fortunately the family retain some of these on an iPad.

The kitchen and living room were completely destroyed, while the rest of the flat is badly smoke-damaged.

The family now face spending Christmas in a B&B provided by the Council if their housing association, Port of Leith, cannot provide another solution before then.

“The housing officer said his hands are tied, they don’t have emergency housing,” she said.

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“We have to wait until Friday for a decision from them and if they don’t have anything we’ll have to apply for a B&B.

“We all work full-time, we don’t want to stay in a B&B - I work shifts and I can’t be back at the B&B for 10pm every evening.”

The family, who are ‘still in shock’, are currently staying with Ms Johnston’s best friend.

“It just shows that when things like this happen, people come together,” she said.

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“We’re obviously upset but we’re trying to stay positive. We’re thankful that we’re ok, and that the cat is ok.”

“We want to thank the firefighters because they are bloody heroes.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue have been contacted for a comment.

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