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Aksu TV Haber screengrab

A man who lost his home after he accidently set it on fire is relieved to find that his cat made it out alive.

The image of 83-year-old Ali Mese embracing his cat ‘Sarikiz’ - which translates to 'blond girl' - amidst the rubble of his home has elicited global sympathy.

The elderly man accidently started the fire in his home in northwestern Turkey's Bolu province on Tuesday. He had been attempting to light a heating stove with gasoline, but it didn’t work and an explosion ripped through his living room, eventually burning the house down, local media reported.

Neighbours saw the fire and called the fire brigade, who were able to save Mese, his wife, his son and just one of his cats.

He also lost all of his hens.

An emotional photo of the old man leaning on his cane as he hugs his cat was picked up by number of news outlets, including CNN and comedian Ellen Degeneres.

The Mudurnu Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation have started to build a new house for the elderly man, dubbed 'Uncle Ali', and local authorities are also focused on helping him and his family.

Mese suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital, where members of Red Crescent came – with gifts for his cat.

This included a cat bed and a cat carrier:

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