JOHOR BARU: Initially, Lika Dugas was reluctant to keep a stray puppy given to her by a stranger two months ago but her decision to keep the canine proved to be a life-saving one.
The three-month-old puppy named Kopi kept whining and pulling at Lika’s nightgown to alert her of a fire that broke out at her home along Jalan Kota Tinggi, Ulu Tiram here at around 1.45am yesterday.
The fire razed a row of three-unit wooden houses, killing her neighbour, Sarawakian Nagi Sakura in his forties, while Lika and another family escaped unhurt.
The 67-year-old Lika from Kuching said she left Kopi in the living room while she went to sleep in the bedroom three hours earlier.
She was woken up by the puppy’s loud whines as it tried to wake her by pulling at her gown with its mouth.
She added that she ordered the puppy to stop but Kopi refused and went on to pull at her hair.
“Only then did I realise there was thick black smoke coming into the house from outside.
“I would have died in the fire if not for Kopi. The puppy that I did not want actually saved my life,” she said.
Lika said that she decided to adopt the puppy and care for him after her husband passed away five months ago.
Johor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Hamid Suari said a fire engine from the Johor Jaya station and a forensic investigation team arrived at the scene at around 1.54am.
He said that eight firemen managed to put off the fire completely an hour later.
“We believe that the fire began from the first house where the deceased had been trapped inside,” he said, adding that the cause of the fire was still being investigated.