A boating couple whose barge was targeted in an alleged arson attack have thanked a husband and wife for rescuing their beloved pet pooch.
Patricia Preston and her partner Steven Rowlandson went to the pub to watch Liverpool play on Thursday night (May 5) after mooring up on the Shropshire Union Canal at the back of Iceland in Chester city centre.
While they were away, suspected arsonists allegedly set fire to items at the front of the boat including the awning worth £2,000, a rucksack, fishing bag and boots.
Passersby stumbled across the fire about 8.40pm and spotted the couple’s black poodle inside. They quickly smashed windows to get the animal out of the vessel unharmed.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service extinguished the blaze which did not spread to boat itself. Police arrested two men.
The couple returned home from the pub about 10.30pm to find the boat cordoned off and a confusing scene. The man and wife who saved their dog were contacted by police and quickly returned with the pet, named Shadow.
Pat, 53, explained: “They said ‘Don’t class us as heroes because there were loads of people involved in smashing windows to get the dog out – all we’ve done is looked after the dog’.”
But Pat would like to thank them properly, explaining that she was traumatised at the time.
“We want to find the couple. I remember the woman’s name was Geraldine, “ she added. “Apart from the disruption, I’m not bothered, my dog’s still alive.”
However, she admitted feeling ‘gutted’ and ‘distraught’ at being targeted on a holiday jaunt to the ‘lovely city centre’ with all its heritage. And she said the damaged items were not insured.
She explained that Shadow always attracted people’s attention because he often sits on the roof of the narrowboat which she and Steve call home.
Cheshire Police spokeswoman Rachel Hayes confirmed two men, both aged 25, one from Deeside and one from Chester, had been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. They remain in custody at the moment. A crime scene investigator and a detective visited the area this morning.