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Police probe flat blaze

A MAN and his dog were rescued from a burning flat by firefighters. Kevin Edwards, of Central Parade, Rochester, awoke to the smell of burning in the early hours of Easter Monday.

After hearing a strange crackling noise, the 40-year-old raced into the hallway and was confronted by leaping flames. Mr Edwards said: "I had been trying to sleep, so I got up, made a cup of tea and sat dozing in the chair in the front room watching the television.

"Then I heard this weird noise and could smell smoke, so I muted the sound and the noise was getting louder. I went into the hallway and saw huge flames through the glass of my front door."

Mr Edwards, who is epileptic, tried to keep calm and laid blankets by the door to prevent the smoke from rising. The ex-welder continued: "I couldn't panic, otherwise I might have had a seizure. So I put the blankets down on the floor and phoned the fire brigade."

Crews from Strood Fire Station placed a ladder up to the window leading into the front room where Mr Edwards was waiting patiently with his Staffordshire bull terrier, Bonnie. He said: "Bonnie was just lying on the floor, oblivious to the whole thing, but being a dog lover, I passed her to the firemen first before climbing out the window."

Mr Edwards was given oxygen and looked after by the Red Cross Fire Victim Support unit.

Leading firefighter Ian Simpson said: "Rubbish had been piled up outside the front door and set alight. There was a lot of plastic on fire and with all the smoke, the glass of the door smashed."

Police were called and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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