A wildlife rescuer says as long as his dog is safe he can stay "sane”, despite losing all the rest of his personal belongings in a flat fire in Erith.

On Sunday, April 14, wildlife rescuer Paul Elliot headed out to what he thought would be any normal day at work, where he was set to rescue chickens from Buckinghamshire.

As he was driving towards the Dartford Crossing, Paul was bombarded by phone calls, and when he answered, his friend told him there was black smoke coming from his balcony, and his flat, located on Kale Road, was on fire.

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Four fire engines and 25 firefighters dealt with the fire at Paul’s three-roomed flat on the sixth floor, where his beloved dog, Bruno, was stuck inside.

Paul told the News Shopper: “I flew home and there was police everywhere – the road was blocked off and it was a surreal experience.

“Instantly, I thought, ‘why did I leave my dog indoors today?’.

“Usually Bruno comes everywhere with me, as I rescue foxes, but because I was picking up chickens, I didn’t think it was fair to bring him.”

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Paul said the fire brigade tried to kick the door in, but there was smoke pouring from his balcony, and flames up the side of the block.

He added: “Apparently people tried breaking in through the front door.

“Bruno was barking and crying, then it just stopped – this was ten minutes before the Brigade arrived.

“It sounded like explosions were coming from my flat”.

Firefighters eventually got in the flat and put the fire out, but they couldn’t find Bruno anywhere.

Paul added: “In my head I thought Bruno had been burnt to a crisp, and I started to have a breakdown.

“I told them he was definitely in there, so the brigade went back up, and found Bruno hiding in my bedroom behind the bed.

“There’s not a scratch on him – I don’t generally believe in God, but I honestly think Bruno had a guardian angel look over him”.

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Paul said that firefighters informed him that 70 per cent of his three-room flat was destroyed by fire.

He described the scene as resembling a “war zone”, with items like laptops, cans of lighter fuel, and disposable vapes in the living room, which could have exploded during the incident.

Paul was unable to rescue any of the items inside the flat, including sentimental items that belonged to his dad and his brother, who sadly died a few years ago.

“Everything is all gone”, Paul added, “but as long as I’ve got my dog, I am sane”.

Now, Paul is staying at his mums until he hears from housing association Peabody with information as to where he will be living in the future.

A spokesperson for Peabody Housing told the News Shopper that they are staying in touch and supporting Paul “however they can”.

The spokesperson said: “This has been a really distressing time for Paul and we’re making sure he has all the essentials he needs.

“He’s staying somewhere safe while we assess the damage to his home, and we'll stay in touch with him and support however we can."

Since the incident, Paul's friend Gina created a GoFundMe to aid in rebuilding Paul and Bruno's future.

It has already amassed over £5,000.

Paul added: “Honestly, I'm so overwhelmed with it.

“People who follow my fox rescuer Facebook page have even offered their furniture to me, and I have never met them before.

“I do my job because I love animals, and I feel sharing my work with people gives people compassion back.”