Paddy McCourt hailed a hero after preventing major fire

James O'Hara whose cat Paddy McCourt alerted him to a fire next door to his house.
James O'Hara whose cat Paddy McCourt alerted him to a fire next door to his house.

PADDY McCourt has been hailed the ‘purrfect’ hero after being credited with stopping a major gas explosion in Scotland.

No, not the former Derry City and Celtic star but a flame-haired cat named after him, hit the headlines in the historic village of Winchburgh last week for its heroics.

There was a mass evacuation of 30 homes in the West Lothian village after someone deliberately started a fire in a wheelie bin and it came to within a whisker of a major cat-astrophe.

And the alarm was only raised when resident James O’Hara let his cat, Paddy McCourt, out of the house at 1.30a.m to go to the toilet and it spotted smoke.

“I was putting Paddy McCourt out and I heard a crackling and popping. As I looked out I saw all this smoke and this orange glow.

“It wasn’t a fire you could put out with a bucket of water but the kind only a professional would be able to handle.

“Someone could have been killed,” he continued. “If the gas main had gone up, it’s not just these houses, it’s all the houses. Letting the cat out saved the day.”

The flames leapt 12ft up the side of one property and damaged a mains gas pipe and it emerged that lives could have been threatened.

O’Hara, a caretaker in a nearby community centre, then banged frantically on his neighbours’ window and shouted; “Your house is on fire”, though it took several minutes to rouse residents.

Paddy was feline very proud of itself after its heroics in Scotland.

Paddy was feline very proud of itself after its heroics in Scotland.

I was putting Paddy McCourt out and I heard a crackling and popping. As I looked out I saw all this smoke and this orange glow.

Paddy’s owner