A HEAVILY pregnant dog turned life-saving hero when she woke up her sleeping owner after a fire broke out in his flat.

Simon Spalding was unaware of the life-threatening situation in his home in Officers Row, Bramley, as his smoke detector was not working.

Simon, 23, was sound asleep in the bedroom of his ground-floor flat at around 2.40am last Saturday and was oblivious to the blaze in his hallway.

Fortunately, his beloved dog Tipsy raised the alarm by nudging him awake, licking his face and barking.

Simon said: “When I woke up, I didn’t know what was going on. I could just see a light coming from the hall and it wasn’t until I opened the door that I realised the flat was on fire.”

Simon was unable to reach the front door, but fled out of the back door and alerted his neighbours, one of whom called the fire brigade.

Simon said: “I have no doubt that Tipsy saved my life. If it hadn’t been for what she did, I probably wouldn’t have woken up. The fire alarm wasn’t working and none of the neighbours knew that the flat was on fire.

“I am incredibly grateful to her. I’ve been getting her lots of her favourite treats.”

Simon lost nearly all of his belongings in the fire, which gutted the hallway of the flat, because he had moved most of his things into the hallway to make room for pregnant Tipsy to give birth.

And three days after the dramatic incident, Tipsy gave birth to eight healthy puppies, one of which Simon will keep.

Simon, who has owned two-year-old Tipsy for around eight months, said: “We do have a connection and she has always looked after me, even though I haven’t had her for very long.

“She’s usually very placid and very loving. She used to be scared of fire – even of cigarette lighters – but she seemed very calm when she woke me.”

The drama wasn’t over after they got outside, because Tipsy became distressed and returned to the flat, resulting in Simon going back inside the burning building to rescue her.

Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes and extinguished the blaze by around 6am. The flat, which is owned by Sovereign Housing Association, has now been boarded up.

Simon is currently staying with friends and will soon be moving to a new flat elsewhere in the borough, which has been provided for him by Sovereign.

He said he has had problems sleeping since the incident. He added: “I’ve been in Bramley for three years and all my friends are here. I consider it home. But I can’t go back to the flat – it would just be too difficult.”

Officers are now investigating the cause of the fire. They have arrested a 22-year-old man, from Basingstoke, in connection with the incident and he has been released on bail until December 18, pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information which might help the police inquiry is asked to contact Detective Constable Sol Koranteng, at Basingstoke CID, on 101 or Crime-stoppers on 0800 555 111.