A pet owner has thanked hero firefighters who rescued her newly-born kittens when a fire broke out in her home as she slept.
Paigin Foster was having a nap in her upstairs flat in Priestley Court, South Shields, when her cooker caught fire.
Her cat Lola, two, had given birth to six kittens the same day, and the new-born felines were in a box in the kitchen, where the fire started.
Thankfully, a neighbour raised the alarm with the fire brigade and Paigin was woken by her smoke alarm and managed to get outside.
However, she was unable to get to Lola, other cat Delilah and the kittens.
The 22-year-old said: “I didn’t realise the cooker had been left on and I don’t know what was in the pan at the time.
“The next I knew I woke up and there were flames in the kitchen.”
A distraught Paigin was standing in the street when two fire engines arrived a short while later.
She said: “I was in bits – sobbing and shaking. I was so worried about them.The six kittens were in a box in the kitchen. They were just born on the day of the fire.
“I tried to go back in but they wouldn’t let me – I felt awful.”
Firefighters rescued the kittens, while the two adult cats ran away from them and hid elsewhere in the house. They then extinguished the fire.
Paigin added: “It was quite a lot of damage to the back wall and smoke damage, but it was put out really quickly.
“The firefighters were really, really lovely – all of them. They stayed around to make sure everything was OK and they came back the next day to see how I was.”