Neighbor's dog saves family from fire

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix family is lucky to be alive after an early morning fire ripped through their home Wednesday, and they have a neighbor's dog to thank for saving them.

It happened at about 2 a.m. in the neighborhood just northeast of 31st Avenue and Bell Road. A family of seven, including a baby, was asleep inside the home when the fire started.

Fire crews say that's the worst possible time for a house fire.

"People are sleeping; they may not hear their smoke detectors or their smoke detectors may not be working," Capt. Mark Harvey of the Phoenix Fire Department explained. "A lot of times, the middle-the-night fires are tragic."

Because of a dog, that was not the case Wednesday morning.

The family's across-the-street neighbor, Carole Poe, said her dog, Duncan, woke her in time for her to alert the family and help hustle them outside to safety.

"Obviously he knew what was going on, and he woke me up until I got up," Poe said.

Had it not been for his persistence, she might not have seen what was happening across the street.

"He kept putting his nose in my face," Poe said. "He just wouldn't leave me alone. I thought maybe he wanted outside, but then I heard a popping noise …. I looked out the window and [saw] the house was on fire."

Mark Tice woke up to Poe pounding on his door. He immediately ran to his 18-month-old's room.

"I looked out through the sliding glass doors and all I could see was a bunch of orange flames," he said. "I kicked in his door and grabbed him up."

The entire family, including their pets, escaped safely. There were some tense hours, however, because JC the cat was missing for quite some time.

The good news is that nobody was injured. The bad news is that the fire destroyed the family's home.

Firefighters said the rental home did not have working smoke detectors.

It's not yet known what sparked the fire.