A DALMATIAN puppy alerted his owner to the fact her car was on fire just moments before it exploded in a ball of flame.
The nine-month-old dog, called Pye, jumped from the boot and into the front of the car, alerting Rebecca Kerry to the smoke which was coming from the rear of the Citroen.
Just seconds later, after she had got Pye and her other dog Henry out of the vehicle, it dramatically set on fire, leaving the Picasso a complete write-off.
Fire crews said that the incident, in Marston Lane, Hatton, was due to an electrical fault on the car.
Ms Kerry, 32, told the Mail: “He jumped over to make me aware of the smoke, and I really do think that saved our lives.
“If he hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have turned around in time.
“I saw the smoke in the back of the car. I jumped up and it was just filling up through the car.
“I was going to get back in the car to move it, because it didn’t cross my mind this could happen, but a man stopped me. After I got out it just went up in seconds.
“I’m so grateful to him; we might not be here. My dogs are my heroes.
“I’m just thankful that it wasn’t on the motorway and my son wasn’t with me.”
Ms Kerry, who works as a teaching assistant at Hilton Primary School, uses Marston Lane daily, when she heads out to walk Pye and five-year-old Henry.
Three people stopped to help after the car set on fire.
Ms Kerry said she was ‘so grateful’ to the trio – Andrew Feasey, from Rolleston, Mrs Whetton, from Swadlincote, and Jane Stopr, from Stapenhill.
“One of them rounded up the dogs for me, and let me use their phone. They were just great. It just shows there are some nice people in the world,” she added.
Along with the car, Ms Kerry, has also lost her mobile phone and many other items.
After the blaze, at lunchtime on Tuesday, Marston Lane was covered with diesel, some of the road surface had melted and a nearby verge and fence were on fire.
On Wednesday night, as the trio recovered from the shock at their home in New Road, Hilton, Pye refused to leave the side of his beloved owner.
“He lay on me all night. He was so protective,” Ms Kerry said.
Dalmatians have a link with fire safety, and they are traditional mascots for fire houses in the US.