JOHOR BARU: Initially Lika Dugas was reluctant to keep a stray puppy given to her by a stranger two months ago but her decision to keep the canine proved to be a life changing decision.
It turned out the three-month-old puppy named Kopi was a god-send hero when the mongrel kept on whining and pulling Lika's nightgown to alert her of a fire that broke out at her home along Jalan Kota Tinggi, Ulu Tiram here at around 1.45am Wednesday.
The fire razed a row of three-unit wooden houses, killing her neighbour Sarawakian Nagi Sakura in his forties, while Lika and another family escaped unhurt.
The 67-year-old Lika from Kuching said that she left Kopi resting in the living room while she went to sleep in the bedroom around three hours earlier.
She was later woken by the puppy's loud whines and the brown puppy tried to wake her by pulling her gown with his mouth.
She added that she ordered the puppy to stop the antics and go back to sleep but Kopi refused and went on to pull her hair.
"Only then I realised that there was thick black smoke coming into the house from outside.
"I would have perished in the fire if not for Kopi. The puppy that I did not want actually saved my life," she said with tears rolling down her cheeks relating her near death experience when met at the scene.
Lika said that she decided to adopt the puppy and take good care of him after this since she her husband passed away five months ago.
The odd job worker said that her neighbour tried kicking Nagi's door to alert him of the fire but the door was locked from inside before the fire started to engulf the houses.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Johor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Hamid Suari said that a fire engine from the Johor Jaya fire station and a forensic investigation team arrived at the scene at around 1.54am.
He said that eight firemen managed to put off the fire completely one hour later.
"We believe that the fire began from the first house where the victim was trapped inside," he said, adding that the cause of the fire was still being investigated.
The body has been sent to Hospital Sultanah Aminah for post mortem.