A FAMILY who escaped their blazing home have paid tribute to their pet dog which perished in the blaze after helping to rescue them.
David and Kelly Williams, who have now been released from hospital, say they owe their lives to their black Labrador, Noodles, after she helped guide the couple's two-year-old son out of their home in the early hours.
Mr Williams, 29, was woken at around 3.15am on Christmas Eve by the smoke alarm in their home in Gomersal, West Yorkshire. He raced downstairs, alerted his family and managed to open a window. He then caught one of the couple's two young sons, Rhys, two, as he was passed out.
But the couple's other son, McKenzie, aged one, was asleep in the next door bedroom and as Mrs Williams, 32, tried to cross the hallway to get to him, she was overcome by thick acrid smoke.
She said: "It was so bad that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.
"But then our dog Noodles, grabbed hold of my nightie in her mouth and guided me into his room.
"She took me right to his bed, where I was able to pick him up and pass him out the window to David."
Sadly firefighters were unable to rescue 18-month-old Noodles.
"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her," said Mr Williams. "There's no way I would have been able to get McKenzie if she hadn't helped me.
"I was getting so hot and feeling so light-headed because of the smoke. A few minutes longer and we would have been dead."
The couple were so badly injured that they were rushed to Leeds General Infirmary, where they spent Christmas Day in intensive care.
When their friends and family heard what happened, they quickly rallied round to raise money and buy clothes, toiletries and Christmas presents so the family wouldn't be without on Christmas Day.
Mrs Williams said: "We've been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people. They have been amazing."
The family were reunited on New Year's Eve and say that they will enjoy another Christmas Day later on in the year.
Mr Williams said: "We all could have died that night and we are just grateful that we are here to tell the story."
"It wasn't until later that I found out what Noodles had done. We'd only had her three or four months, she was a stray that kept coming round and when nobody claimed her we adopted her.
"It's so sad she has gone."
It is thought the fire may have been started by a faulty plug. The couple's two sons were treated for minor smoke inhalation.