Rabbit the bunny a hare-raising fire hero
From The Age
by Andrea Petrie
July 24, 2008 - 2:58PM
A pet rabbit has been credited with saving the lives of a Melbourne couple after fire swept through their home this morning - six days before their renovations were due to be completed.
Macleod resident Michelle Finn and her partner Gerry Keogh were woken about 7am by their family pet, named Rabbit, who was causing a racket from his cage.
"Gerry only got home from work about 5.30am because he works night shift and about 7am we both woke to the sound of a thumping rabbit,'' Ms Finn said.
"We heard windows breaking at the back of the house and got up to see what was wrong and the house was on fire.''
The blaze had broken out in the back office and smoke was spreading quickly through the house.
Ms Finn said she was grateful to her six-month-old, black, floppy-eared companion for reacting the way he did from his loungeroom cage.
"He's in the cage during the night and just started thumping and running around and was trying to get out I guess,'' she said.
"If it wasn't for the rabbit we probably wouldn't have woken up quite as soon.''
Firefighters donned breathing apparatus to get inside the house to retrieve the pet. His owners could not reach him due to the smoke.
Ms Finn said they had been renovating the house for two years and were due to finish next week.
"It's my Mum's 60th birthday in August and we were supposed to be having the party here,'' she said. "That's not going to happen now.''
Metropolitan Fire Brigade commander Mick Swift said it was the first fire he had attended where the life-saver was a rabbit.
"It could have been a lot worse and without the rabbit it could have been a tragedy where lives were lost,'' he said.
"We're pretty happy to be able to giggle about it.''
Four fire appliances and 15 fire fighters brought the blaze _ which was caused by a faulty electrical heater _ under control in 10 minutes. Damage is estimated at $80,000.
Mr Swift said a smoke alarm had been removed from the ceiling while the back of the home was being renovated.
"The lesson to learn from this is that even if a smoke alarm is removed it can still be put high up on a shelf or attached with double-sided tape or Blu Tack until it is put up permanently,'' he said.
Mr Keogh, a nighclub employee, said while he and his partner faced the difficult task of rebuilding, Rabbit had also been left homeless by the fire, with his cage ruined.
"We don't know what we're going to do with him in the meantime,'' he said.
"The fire-fighters did a wonderful job saving him and we're just glad that we all got out alive.''