A CAT used up one of its nine lives when it was rescued from a smokefilled flat by firefighters.

Firefighters rushed to the flat in Southampton yesterday after a blaze started in the bathroom.

And when they searched the apartment they heard ginger moggy Benjie meowing.

Rushing him outside, they used an oxygen mask usually used on children to revive him, and he is now recuperating after his ordeal.

Firefighters say the blaze at the ground-floor flat in Stokes Court at The Dell was started by candles in the bathroom.

The blaze, which started some time after 9am, destroyed much of the bathroom and filled the rest of the flat with smoke.

Five other people – including a child – were in other flats in the block when the smoke alarms went off at 9.30am.

One of them, Scott Brady, called the fire service and they evacuated the block.

He said: “Everyone got out OK, that was the main thing.

“It was just lucky there was no one in the flat.”

No one except Benjie of course, who was reunited with his owners yesterday after the efforts of the firefighters.


Firefighter Becks Bryant revived him using the oxygen mask after the smoke almost overcame him.

She said: “The guys were in the flat and they heard a meow so they were looking for him.

“They brought him out and I took him from them and got oxygen and a child’s mask.

“I think he’s frightened but otherwise OK.”

While he will need a check-up from a vet, Benjie is expected to fully recover.

Fire engines from Redbridge, St Mary’s and Hightown were all called to the scene yesterday morning alongside several ambulances.

After putting out the fire, crews used a giant fan to disperse the smoke which had gathered in the flat and the communal stairwell.

While the bathroom suffered severe fire damage, most of the rest of the flat was also damaged by smoke.