A father of two, who is paralysed from the chest down, has been rescued from his burning house in Essex by the family’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sandy.

The fire, which gutted the entire house in Churchfields, North Shoebur, is believed to have been caused by a chip pan catching fire in the kitchen.

Keith Chandler, 29, was alerted to the fire by his partner’s four-year-old son Bradley. He realised the fire had taken hold and, as there was no other way out, he ushered the four children out of a patio door.

Keith struggled to get himself out of the house, but was luckily rescued by three-year-old Sandy.

Despite being small for her breed, Sandy helped get Keith out by grabbing hold of his clothes and pulling him out of the house before the fire took hold.

MelKnight, Keith’s partner, said: “Sandy was fantastic, she hasn’t been specially trained as an assistance dog, but I have taught her some things to help Keith. She always lies close and is protective of him.

“Sandy is a heroine and has become something of a local celebrity.”

Fire crews from Essex County Fire and Rescue were called to the property and spent nearly two hours tackling the blaze.

The family and Sandy are staying with friends while the council arranges alternative accommodation.