A dog is lucky to be alive after being rescued from a building four days after it was gutted by a fire in Great Yarmouth.

Elvis Smith, of Northgate Street, returned home from holiday yesterday morning to find his house damaged by the smoke and heat from the fire which tore through the neighbouring building block last Saturday

When the 50-year-old went into his back garden he could hear a dog crying and begging for help. 

Alfie is believed to have been trapped for five days (Image: Elvis Smith) "He was on the ground floor of the building that had burnt down calling for help - waiting and hoping that someone would hear him," Mr Smith said. 

"He just laid there crying and crying, it was horrible."

The building that Alfie was trapped inThe building that Alfie was trapped in (Image: Oliv3r Drone Photography) Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service had been told all dogs at the property had been accounted for and firefighters had spent 48 hours checking the site. 

Alfie's owner had died around three weeks ago and was being looked after by Brandon McHugh at the time of the fire.

Mr McHugh, whose flat was one of several destroyed in the blaze, had managed to escape the fire with two of his dogs.

Eight of his other dogs and puppies were rescued by firefighters. 

When Mr Smith contacted the fire service they told him they couldn't go into the building because it had been deemed unsafe, but they would contact the RSPCA. 

He appears to have an eye infection (Image: Elvis Smith) Deciding that the husky-cross, who couldn't stand and had presumably been without food or water for almost five days, couldn't wait any longer, Mr Smith took matters into his own hands.

"The lady over the road rang the RSPCA and they said they couldn't come out - nobody seemed interested", he said. "That dog was just left to die."

"The authorities told me the building wasn’t safe and I shouldn’t go in.

His paws were burntHis paws were burnt (Image: Elvis Smith) "I didn’t touch or move the barriers that had been set up - I have shared access through the alley between the buildings.

"I just went through my door and climbed over all the rubble and debris and lifted the dog out."

Once rescued, Alfie immediately drank two full bowls of water. 

Mr Smith added: "His paws were burnt and his back legs looked like they could be broken. 

"He also had some sort of eye infection. 

Alfie drank two full bowls of water after being rescued (Image: Elvis Smith) "I’m surprised he’s alive after all the smoke he must have inhaled." 

READ MORE: Cause of massive town blaze is not known due to extensive damage

Alfie was taken to a local vet with the help of a neighbour, before being transferred to a hospital overnight where he reportedly had a stable night. 

It is unknown how Alfie was missed in the burnt-out building for so long. 

Mr Smith said: "He seems to have been overlooked when they were searching looking at how many dogs were pulled from the building.

"I could hear him from the back garden, nobody would have heard him from the street at the front.   

He was taken to a local vetHe was taken to a local vet (Image: Elvis Smith) "But the authorities have been backwards and forward to the building since the fire and the police were guarding it for three days."

When told the news that Alfie had been rescued and taken to the vet, Mr McHugh said he thought the dog had died in the fire. 

A spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “After we had been in and performed the rescue on Saturday, we were told by the owner that all dogs were accounted for.

A firefighter administering oxygen to a dog rescued from the buildingA firefighter administering oxygen to a dog rescued from the building (Image: Anthony Carroll) “Part of the building was deemed not safe to enter because of the extent of the fire damage, so we used our aerial ladder platform and thermal imaging camera to check for any further hot spots or signs of life.

"We repeated this for 48 hours but did not find any signs of more animals trapped in the building.

“When we received the call from a member of the public at about 4pm on Wednesday to say they had heard a dog in the building for five days, we contacted the RSPCA straight away.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "The report from the fire service came into our call centre where all calls are assessed so we can assign an appropriate officer.

"This process was stopped when we found the dog had been rescued and we hope he is recovering well."