A PORT Elizabeth businesswoman sobbed uncontrollably yesterday as her cat was pulled from her gutted Theescombe house – only to find out it had miraculously survived.
Leigh Parry, owner of Leigh Parry Estates, was alone at home in her four-bedroom Welcome Avenue house when the fire started at about 2.30pm.
She was called by a neighbour who saw flames coming from the house. “At the time I did not think anything much of it, but I obviously went to go look. As I walked into the passage from my bedroom I just saw the smoke and flames.”
In a panic, she tried to gather her beloved pets and managed to rescue five dogs and a cat.
Her two-year-old cat Speckles, drenched and covered in soot, was only found much later after the fire had been doused, hiding behind cabinets in one of the rooms.
Parry, who initially thought the cat had died, rushed Speckles to the vet for treatment.
The fire is believed to have started in the TV room.
“I did not know what to think. It all happened so quickly. I got the animals and locked them in the outside office. I then ran around and grabbed the hose-pipe. It [the fire] was just so hot that as fast as the water was coming out the pipe it was just evaporating. It was like it did not even make a difference.”
Parry said she had not even had time to get a pair of shoes.
“We have lost everything. All our belongings are inside the house. You know most general items are replaceable but what really makes me sad is that some of the items with sentimental value are now gone forever,” she said.
“My mother died a short while back and some of her things were inside the house. I was keeping them. They really meant a lot to me.”
Parry’s husband, Tony, arrived at the house a short while later.
“I am shocked but the main thing is that she [Leigh] is alive and no one is hurt,” he said.
Parry said they had been inundated with offers of help – including the use of a camper – and were likely to stay with friends last night.
Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said a standard police investigation was under way to determine the cause of the fire – possibly an electrical fault – and that no criminal case was opened.
“At this stage we are waiting for the fire experts to give us a report on how it started,” he said.
“Based on their findings we will then decide on whether to open a case of arson or not.”
A preliminary report from fire investigators will be submitted to detectives later this week.