Edinburgh couple’s puppy accidentally set fire to Liberton home

Owner Fiona Milne with puppy Harris. Picture: Mike Day / Saltire News
Owner Fiona Milne with puppy Harris. Picture: Mike Day / Saltire News
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A PUPPY had to be given lifesaving treatment by firefighters after it started a fire in its owners’ kitchen while they were out playing badminton.

Six-month old black Labrador Harris managed to turn on the electric cooker then knock a wicker fruit and vegetable basket on to the red hot hob.

Owner Fiona Milne and her fiancé Calum Campbell, who had left the pup alone in the house in Liberton, Edinburgh, returned to find their beloved pet unconscious in the smoke filled room.

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze before it took hold in the rest of the kitchen, and saved Harris’ life by administering oxygen via a mask on the front lawn.

Fiona, 25, said: “We went out for an hour to play badminton. When we came home we heard the alarm, opened the door and the house was full of smoke.

“We ran in to the house but you couldn’t see anything at all in the kitchen because the smoke was so thick.

“We were feeling around for Harris, then Calum found him at the back door.

“He had his head in his water bowl and he was unconscious.

“We just grabbed Harris and ran outside to call the fire brigade.”

The fire caused more than £1000 worth of damage. The cooker was beyond repair, as were some cupboards, blackened wall tiles and the kitchen curtains.

The vegetable basket and a boxed picture frame that was on the work surface were destroyed by the fire. The rest of the house was left uninhabitable because of the smell of smoke that permeated every corner of the property.

Harris came around thanks to the oxygen and was then rushed to a vet for “intensive care”.

The pet was kept overnight in an “oxygen kennel” with medication administered through a cannula in his leg.

Fiona and Calum had to move in with Fiona’s mum.

Fiona, a trainee paralegal with an Edinburgh law firm, said Harris was tired out from a long walk before the couple left the house.

They also “dog-proofed” the property by clearing away anything their puppy could chew.

The cooker was switched off, but Harris somehow turned the dial and manoeuvred the basket on to the hob.

Fiona said: “Harris is usually very obedient but he can be nosey.

“We always dog-proof the house but he must have been looking for a treat. He’s somehow switched on the hob and knocked over the basket which started smouldering.

“We’re very lucky we came back when we did.”

In fact, the couple had planned to pick up some dinner from a nearby supermarket but had to return home first as they had forgotten to bring money.

Had they been any later, the fire might have spread beyond the cooking area and Harris would likely have died from smoke inhalation.

Fiona added: “There’s a Tesco next to the sports centre and we were going to get something for our tea but neither of us had money so we went home first.

“The firemen said if we’d been just a couple of minutes later it would have been a different story. We might have lost Harris and the house.”

Calum, 25, who works as an emergency call handler for Police Scotland, said: “When I went in the kitchen, I couldn’t see anything for smoke. I found Harris with his head in the water bowl. His body was completely limp.

“The firefighters couldn’t say how long Harris had been unconscious, but they said if we had been any later we would not have been so lucky.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said they were alerted at 7.06pm on Friday January 27 to reports of smoke at a house in Murrays Brae in Edinburgh.

A spokesperson said: “A fire appliance from Liberton fire station attended the incident and quickly put out a small fire in the kitchen and ventilated the property. Firefighters provided oxygen for a pet dog in the property.”