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Feb 7 2006
A WOMAN had a lucky start to the Chinese Year of the Dog - when a pet pooch saved her from a raging wok fire.

The oriental cooking dish had set Wiebke Phillips's house ablaze as she slept downstairs.

Her son had been preparing a meal just days into the Chinese New Year.

The two smoke alarms fitted near the kitchen of her home in Edinburgh had failed to go off.

But her beloved Staffordshire bull terrier sensed the danger and bounded in to alert his owner.

And he did such a good job of waking her that she managed to escape with onlyminor burns to her hands.

Wiebke, 38, had not been feeling well on Wednesday night and was asleep on the sofa when teenage son James decided to cook himself some Chinese food.

He took his meal away to share it with sister Jade but forgot to turn off the cooker.

Wiebke said: "I woke up with my dog, Tyson, licking my face and jumping up and down.

"The room was filled with smoke and I couldn't breathe."

Wiebke battled through the flames to reach the kitchen.

She went on:"The flames were hitting the tops of the units. I was shocked when I saw it was the wok which was on fire."

She then threw the wok out and rushed her children to safety before the fire brigaed arrived.

The mum added: "If it wasn't for Tyson, I wouldn't be here. Maybe it was some Chinese luck since it is the Year of the Dog."


Hometown Hero--Otis

Chuck Thompson and Otis

It's often said that dogs are man's best friend. You'll agree after you meet Otis, an eight-month-old red nose pit bull. A breed that gets a lot of bad press.

But this dog loves everybody he meets. Last Wednesday night, he proved just how much he loved his family.

Chuck Thompson and his wife Rebecca fell asleep watching television. Around 2:30am, Otis let them know something was wrong.

"Otis come through the house barking and growling and raising all kinds of sand," said Thompson. "He wouldn't leave me alone in the living room."

Otis was relentless, running back and forth between the living room and the bedroom where two of the family's five children were asleep.

"Once I woke up, all of a sudden I could smell it," said Thompson. "It was a surge protector in our twin girls' bedroom and it just before catching on fire."

Thompson quickly pulled the plug.

For a breed of dog that seldom gets any good press, for this life-saving pooch, the media attention this time is good. Otis, you are this week's WTOC Hometown Hero.

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email

Reported by: Ron Wallace,

Pit Bull Saves Man's Life, Dies a Hero
April 26, 2001 Belmont, North Carolina, USA

Good thing Gaston County, North Carolina doesn't have a ban on pit bulls, or this man wouldn't be alive this morning.

Steve Carpacca, 41, was asleep in his mobile home at 3:15am when his pit bull ran into the bedroom and started barking frantically.

The man awoke to a room filled with smoke and immediately ran outside. When he realized that his dog had not followed him, he rushed back into the blazing trailer, armed with two 5-pound fire extinguishers, but the fire was already out of control.

Four fire departments responded to the call, and it took a total of 15 firefighters to douse the flames. The dog never made it out; fire crews found the little hero's body in the hall just outside Mr. Carpacca's bedroom.

Mr. Carpacca was devastated at the loss of his dog. "The dog saved his life, absolutely," said Chief Dicky Harris with the Community Volunteer Fire Department. "If the dog hadn't been in the house, [Mr. Carpacca] would have been overcome by smoke." It is believed that the fire was caused by an electric heater in the kitchen. Mr. Carpacca never heard any of the smoke detectors sound.