Dog helps northwest Houston woman escape from burning home

August 10, 2013 8:01:59 AM PDT
Officials say an alert dog helped a northwest Houston woman escape from her burning home early this morning at a blaze that hit too close to home for one member of the Houston Fire Department.

The fire broke out just before 3am at a home in the 5000 block of Droddy near Randon.

HFD Capt. and Public Information Officer Ruy Lozano's niece, Tiffany Cunningham, lived at the house with her one-year-old Maltese mix, Lolly. When Lozano got the page alerting him of the fire, he recognized the address. Then, his niece called him to say her house was on fire.

"Fortunately for her, the dog -- Lolly -- actually barked and woke her up and she was able to get out safely," Lozano said.

Cunningham says she was fast asleep when the fire started. Fortunately, her dog noticed something was wrong.

Lolly started barking and scratching at her before the smoke detectors went off, which allowed her to get her keys from the back door. That door would have been blocked by fire if she had waited even a little longer.

"If I had waited for the smoke detectors to go off, I would have had to break a window, or try to find an alternative route to get out of the house," Cunningham said.

When firefighters got to the home, they found flames shooting out of the attic. Crews had to cut a hole in the roof and go into the attic in order to put out the flames.

Investigators believe the fire started in the garage, and then spread into the attic.

"It looks like the fire started on the exterior near the garage and traveled to a common attic into the house, causing significant damage to the attic above the garage and to the actual house," Lozano said.

No injuries were reported. The cause remains under investigation.

Cunningham was able to salvage some items from inside the home, but she lost a lot more. Still, she considers her dog a hero, saying Lolly's instincts may have saved both of their lives.

The grateful homeowner told us her little hero dog will be rewarded with a spa day.

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