A pensioner who lost his home and belongings in a devastating blaze has told how he was saved by his smoke detector.
Andrew “Gus” Murray was alone at his flat in Alyth, Perthshire, when the fire broke out in an empty property next door.
The 73-year-old, who uses a hearing aid, was alerted by his smoke alarm and a call from the 24-hour telecare team who advised him to get outside immediately.
Mr Murray said if it hadn’t been for the detector he might never have escaped from the smoke-filled building.
And he also revealed the miraculous survival of his pet cat, Cleo.
The family feared the worst when the beloved house cat disappeared as the Airlie Street building burned.
They were stunned and delighted to be told she had been found safe and well by police several hours later.
Cleo had been hiding inside the kitchen throughout the blaze, while the flat was hosed down by eight fire crews.
The fire started just after 4.15am on Saturday. Fire and rescue crews from across Tayside fought the flames at the three-storey property for more than nine hours.
Mr Murray said: “I remember when I was going to bed that night, I put the hand on the wall and felt that it was warmer than usual.
“I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
He was woken up by screeching from his community smoke alarm.
“The team called me up and told me it was best to get outside,” he said.
“Everything happened at once. The fire crews turned up with their lights flashing and then two women from the council came to help me get out.”
He said: “I didn’t know how serious it was until I went downstairs and could see thick smoke coming up on either side.
“I put my hand on the wall and by this time it was really, really hot.
“The next thing, I was outside in my coat and my pyjamas.”
He watched as plumes of thick smoke billowed from the building. And when it looked like the blaze was under control, the roof erupted in flames destroying his top floor flat.
Mr Murray, a keen fisherman, said: “It makes you think what could have happened if I didn’t have that smoke alarm installed. I would recommend it to everyone.”
He is now staying with his stepdaughter Tracie Dick in Blairgowrie as he waits to move into sheltered housing.
She said: “We don’t know when we will be able to get back inside the flat, but we know we’ve lost everything including all of Gus’s fishing equipment.
“But all of that can be replaced. I’m just so grateful that he had that smoke detector and I would encourage other people to get them installed.”
She said: “It’s not what you would call a happy ending, because we’ve lost so much – but it could have been so different.”