Abby Wilson, 56, with hero Maltese Poodle, Pepper. Picture: Monique Duval

Cape Town - A half-blind dog has been hailed a hero after saving the life of a Factreton woman as her home went up in flames over the weekend.

Pepper, a nine-year-old Maltese Poodle, came to the rescue of her owner Abby Wilson, 56, who was asleep when flames engulfed her home in 16th Avenue on Friday night.

The fire claimed the lives of her three other dogs.

Wilson, who lives in a Wendy house along with two other relatives, says she fell asleep while watching TV and was woken up by Pepper.

“It was just after 7pm and I was watching TV and fell asleep. Pepper came to me and barked and woke me up and I got the smell of wires burning. When I went to look, I just saw black smoke and the whole place was on fire,” says Wilson.

She then rushed to the backyard to find her other three dogs, JJ, Bolt and Brutus, but she could not get to them and they sadly died in the fire.

The Wendy house where Abby and two relatives lived is destroyed. Picture: Monique Duval

“When I came out, I just heard the neighbours shouting for me to get out. I was in my nightie and just grabbed Pepper and ran. But I had to kick down a fence.”

Wilson says as she handed her beloved pooch over to neighbours, she fell and passed out, just metres away from the flames.

“I was lying here and the fire was so close. I could not move and just lay here. I have first degree burns on my arms just from the heat of the fire but the flames never reached me. I got up and got out and there was a lady - I don’t know who she is - she immediately came and covered me with a blanket.”

Neighbours in the street gathered to break down the entry gate so she could get out.

Wilson was taken to Somerset Hospital where she was treated for burns on her right arm and smoke inhalation.

Picture: Monique Duval

“Pepper has some blisters from the heat, but she is OK. I have had her for nine years now and she is blind in the one eye. She definitely saved my life. If she did not wake me up, I don’t know what would have happened,” she says.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Services did not respond to queries.

Wilson says she is sad about the loss of her other three dogs and the little family is now trying to rebuild their lives.

“We are two women and one man who live at the back and we lost everything, including all our personal documents. We are living with family so long.”

If you would like to assist the family with donations, call Charlyn on 081 332 3000.