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Licensee of Chester pub destroyed by fire says her dog saved her life

Donna Tracy was asleep upstairs when the Rake and Pikel pub caught fire

The Rake and Pikel pub in Huntington(Image: Chester Chronicle)

The licensee of a Chester pub who has ‘lost everything’ after it was gutted by fire says she owes her life to her pet dog who alerted her to the blaze.

Donna Tracy, who lives above the Rake and Pikel in Huntington, had gone to bed in the early hours of Saturday morning after a ‘really good’ Friday night in the pub when she was suddenly awoken by her Jack Russell pet Rhea barking loudly.

After investigating, Donna opened the door to thick black smoke and was horrified to discover her home and livelihood was on fire.

Three fire engines from Chester, Ellesmere Port and Powey Lane had to be called to the scene and crews spent hours damping down the remains of the fire, which has completely gutted the pub’s interior.

Charred debris from what remains of The Rake and Pikel interior

What caused the fire is still under investigation and Donna, who has been the pub’s licensee for five years, says she has ‘no clue’ when it will be able to reopen.

She told The Chronicle: “My dog basically saved my life. When she woke me up barking, I kept telling her to shut up but she kept making noise and then I started to smell smoke. I opened the door and saw thick smoke everywhere. That’s when I ran downstairs, it was terrifying.

“Nothing really feels real at the moment,” she added. “This pub is my life. It’s my home and my livelihood. I have no clue when we will be able to reopen as the inside is destroyed.

 

“But I have no doubt that my dog saved my life - had she not barked to wake me up I would have slept through the whole thing. Everything I had has been destroyed. My purse, bag, even my toothbrush. I’ve got nothing.”

Cheshire Fire and Rescue are investigating the cause of the blaze.

A Chester Fire Station spokesman said on Saturday: "There has been extensive damage to the main bar and lounge area as well as smoke damage to the whole of the property."

 

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