A CAT'S persistent miaowing in the middle of the night saved the residents of an entire apartment block when they woke to find it on fire.
The blaze had started in the flat occupied by the cat and his mum, a 65-year-old Spanish woman, on the C/ del Cid in Alicante, and residents were finally woken by the pet's howling at around 07.00hrs on Sunday morning.
Firstly, a couple living on the second floor were woken by the miaows, and they began knocking on other residents' doors and phoned the fire brigade.
The cat's owner went out into the hallway to carry on waking the neighbours, but once they were all alerted, went back into her apartment to fetch her cat.
As a result, she became trapped by the flames and had to seek refuge on the balcony, from which firefighters rescued her with an automatic ladder.
She did not want to leave until she had found her cat, but the fire brigade insisted and went back inside to search for him.
The woman became upset and panicky about her animal's safety, but within minutes was reunited with him, carried in a fireman's arms and unhurt.
Another eight people suffered smoke inhalation, and four of them had to be helped out of the building wearing firemen's masks.
The woman's lounge and one bedroom were totally destroyed, but the building did not suffer structural damage.
She and her cat were taken by police to a family member's home.