WHEN firefighter Dave Thompson’s cat Salem went missing, he and his worried wife Jan launched a massive search and poster blitz to no avail.

But now they have been re-united with Salem after Dave went to tackle a garage fire about half a mile from his home – and found the black cat standing in the street.

Dave, 45, of Manor Park Road, Rawcliffe, who is based at Acomb Fire Station, said: “We went out earlier this week to deal with a garage fire at a property in Armstrong Way, about five streets away from my home – perhaps half a mile away. The garage was badly damaged.

“As we were leaving, I saw two cats in the street and realised one of them was Salem. He didn’t want me to pick him up - I was black from the smoke of the fire and I don’t think he recognised me.

“We got him in the fire engine and went round to my house and handed him to my wife. She was hysterical – overjoyed. She was in tears to have him back.

“He’s a rescue cat we got from Blue Cross when he was about two months old. We kept him in the house until a couple of months ago.

He’s only ten months old and must have wandered off and got lost.

“He went missing last Friday. We searched everywhere and put out a hundred flyers and put posters up, and contacted the RSPCA and Cat Protection but couldn’t find him anywhere.”

Mr Thompson said the cat’s distinctive collar confirmed Salem’s identity to him.