Rescue cat gets Emergencies Ministry award

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A cat, which saved two pensioners from a fire in the village near the city of Saransk in Central Russia, has received a special award from the Emergencies Ministry.

The animal received sour cream and sausages from Emergencies Ministry representative Oleg Akimov, who came to the village to award the furry hero.

Five-year-old Murzik is a favorite pet of pensioner Nina Efimova, and he rewarded her for love and care by saving her life.

On the day when the tragedy nearly happened, Nina Efimova was home alone as her husband went fishing early in the morning. The woman was still sleeping, when she was woken up by the cat’s loud meows.

"Murzik’s cries sounded bad. I’ve never heard him being so scared. That’s why I woke up. I opened the door and there was fire there,” Nina Efimova told Russia’s Channel One.

The flames blocked the passage to exit for the woman and she had to escape through the window, taking the cat with her.

The fire quickly spread to a nearby house, but Nina Efimova managed to warn her neighbor – another pensioner Zinaida Baikova.

Zinaida said if not for Murzik “we’d both have been burnt alive – I would’ve burnt alive and Nina too.”

The fire department’s investigation revealed that the ignition was caused by a short circuit.

"The most dangerous factor in the combustion process is the carbon monoxide. And the animal, our hero, Murzik, smelt this carbon monoxide. Murzik is a hero, because he saved the lives of two people," Oleg Akimov explained.

The houses ruined by the fire were insured. Soon their owners will receive compensation and start building new homes for themselves and, according to tradition, Murzik will be the first to enter the newly-built houses.

Murzik is not the first animal to be awarded by the Emergencies Ministry. Earlier this month, rescuers presented a brand new collar and a kilogram of cat food to a cat, Vasily, who warned his master of a fire in the Siberian city of Perm.