AN ACCRINGTON man who woke up to find his kitchen in flames says he owes his life to his pet dog.
Chris Hayden said if it hadn't been for his Staffordshire bull terrier, Oscar, barking to wake him up, he may not have survived the blaze at his home in Holland Street, Accrington.
The 23-year-old builder had fallen asleep in his living room shortly after putting food on the grill on Sunday evening. He woke up around an hour later after Oscar barked repeatedly next to him, and discovered the house was full of smoke.
Chris said: "I was really tired as I had been out the night before and only got a few hours sleep. I put some burgers on for tea and sat down to watch the television."
"I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew it was an hour later and the dog was barking loudly in my face. I went into the kitchen and saw all the cupboards around the cooker were engulfed by flames."
"There was a bucket nearby and I managed to put the flames out by throwing water on them. I then went upstairs to open the windows because the house was full of smoke, but I shouldn't have done that because the smoke was so thick that I couldn't see the door to get back downstairs again."
Chris eventually managed to find his way downstairs and immediately got out of the house. Neighbours had called the Fire Brigade and crews from Hyndburn arrived minutes later.
Chris was taken to Blackburn Royal Infirmary suffering from smoke inhalation but he was allowed to return home later that evening.
He said: "The firefighters told me if it had been 10 minutes later, I wouldn't have made it. The flames would have gone through the ceiling and there was just so much smoke in the house."
"It didn't hit me until the next day, when I saw the damage, that I could have died. I didn't think about it at the time, I just tried to stay calm."
"I'm really proud of Oscar. It was unusual for him to bark like that because he is very tame but he definitely saved my life. I've bought him a bone and I'll get him some more treats at the weekend."
Chris said Oscar, a 10-year-old cross breed who he has had for three years, was "fine" after the drama and he thanked fire crews for their help.
The blaze severely damaged the kitchen and the heat was so fierce it melted a kitchen clock and kettle. It also caused smoke damage to the rest of the house.
A spokesperson for the Fire Brigade said they had fitted smoke detectors in the house and warned people to make sure they had working smoke alarms installed.