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Instinct kicked in as dog walker hero saves mum and two sons from Portadown blaze

'I did what I needed to do. I was making sure that people were not in the house'

Portadown fire hero Michal Kulikowski
Hero Michal Kulikowski with his dog, Dino

A local hero has recounted how his actions during a house fire in Portadown last week helped prevent loss of life.

Michal Kulikowski – speaking to Armagh I  – told how if it weren’t for his dog, he may not have noticed the blaze, which happened on Watson Street last Friday (April 26) and left three people requiring treatment for smoke inhalation.

Extensive damage was caused to the house after fire crews from far away as Belfast battled the morning blaze.

In all six fire and one aerial appliance were tasked to the scene.

Michal explained: “I was drinking coffee with my wife and my dog started screaming; that she wants to go out at around 6.10am. We went out and maybe after 100 yards I spotted, on Watson Street, smoke coming out from a window, and that was suspicious to me.”

Michal then informed his wife, who quickly recognised the fire and alerted emergency services.

“I started to run and I was banging on doors to wake people up,” Michal said. “They didn’t even know what was going on.

“I went to the door that the fire was coming from and the lady was sleeping downstairs. She told me her two sons were upstairs so I ran upstairs and took them down. The smoke was coming out from one bedroom but they were sleeping in the other.

“We went down and I was telling her to take all her important things like documents and keys. They went out but we still had some time to take other stuff out.”

Around 12 minutes later, the emergency services arrived. It is believed the fire was caused by an electrical installation.

Michal says it was his “instincts” that kicked in, pushing him on to help the stricken family.

“I did what I needed to do. I was making sure that people were not in the house,” he said.

“When the police arrived, they said to me I was a superhero, that I did my best. The families are telling me that I was very helpful.

“If I had no dog I don’t know what would’ve happened, because if I’d no dog I’d of been sleeping, but when I’m off I take a walk down to the River Bann.”

Michal Kulikowski with his dog, Dino

He added: “When I walked in, you could see from downstairs that the fire was coming out onto the hall. It was like something in a Hollywood movie.”

An NI Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Three occupants were out of the property prior to the arrival of firefighters.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used water jets to extinguish the fire.

“The incident was dealt with by 11.40am and the cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.”

Read more: Firefighters from as far as Belfast drafted in to battle Portadown house blaze

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