Woman Throws Dog to Safety Before Dying in House Fire

A woman in New Zealand saved her dog during a house fire by throwing it out of her bedroom window, before dying in the blaze.

Margaret Fordham, from the city of Upper Hutt in the region of Wellington, New Zealand, died in the early hours of August 12 when a fire started in her house, according to The New Zealand Herald.

Police told the outlet that Fordham was asleep in her bedroom alongside her dog Daisy when the fire broke out. Both neighbors and fire service personnel unsuccessfully attempted to save her.

However, although the emergency services were unable to rescue Fordham from the blaze, she managed to "throw her dog to safety before her death," local police told the Herald.

A separate fire broke out at the property just two nights later at around 3:30 a.m. on August 14 with significant damage caused to the building, but no one was in the house at the time of the incident.

The Herald reported that the cause of the first fire has not yet been determined, while the second blaze is being treated as suspicious, following scene examinations after the separate incidents.

Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer from the Wellington Criminal Investigation Branch told the outlet that the authorities are looking to hear from anyone who may have information about the fires.

"This is a really tragic situation in which a much-loved mother and friend has lost her life," Mercer said. "The public may hold information which could help us identify the person who lit the second fire."

The incident earlier this month is not the first time that someone has been reported to have died this year after attempting to save a dog from a fire, as an 11-year-old girl tragically lost her life in a blaze while trying to rescue her two puppies in May.

In a statement on Facebook, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department in Florida said that "witnesses reported seeing a young female enter one of the homes and although bystanders tried to render aid, the female never exited the home. According to witnesses, the child may have been attempting to save her dogs from the fire."

There have been other reports of people saving dogs from fires over the last 12 months, as in Florida in March a dog trapped inside a home on fire was rescued by a police officer who smashed the front door to help it escape.

Meanwhile, in December 2020, a homeless man in Atlanta saved more than a dozen rescue dogs and cats from a shelter that caught fire just before Christmas.

Newsweek has contacted the authorities in New Zealand for comment.

Fire truck
File photo of firefighters responding to the scene of an incident. A woman in New Zealand saved her dog during a house fire by throwing it out of the building from her bedroom window, before dying in the blaze. MattGush/iStock / Getty Images Plus