Dog saves owner's life after candle starts fire at Glendale dress shop

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Abra Formal Wear after a fire By Jennifer Thomas Abra Formal Wear after a fire By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. – A dog is being called a hero after saving the life of its owner when a fire broke out in a Glendale dress shop early Tuesday morning.

Karen Mariluch was asleep in the back room of Abra Formal Wear near Glendale and 59th avenues when she awoke to her Pomeranian frantically nudging her, according to Michael Young with the Glendale Fire Department.

"He started scratching and moving with his nose and I woke up. I just thought he had to go to the bathroom," said Mariluch. "Fifty million things went through my mind but the most important thing that went through my mind was for him and I to get out of there."

Mariluch smelled smoke in the area she uses as a residence. She was able to get herself and her dog, King, out the back door and safely into the backyard.

Mariluch said the store is not out of business and she is in the process of receiving new items from its sister store in Colorado. She will be available by appointment until the store can be reopened with all new items for sale.

Investigators believe the fire was started by an unattended candle.

Mariluch said she was burning candles.

"I burn them because the store is old and it has a musty smell but I blow them out every night when I got to bed," said Mariluch.

Safety tips to remember:

• Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.

• Keep candles away from items that can burn such as curtains, clothing and paper.

• Use sturdy candleholders that won’t tip over and are large enough to collect dripping wax.

• Place candles in areas where children and pets cannot get near them or tip them.

• Keep candles away from flammable liquids.

• Trim wicks to one-quarter inch.

• Discard candles when wicks are within 2 inches of the holder.

• Store candles and matches out of a child’s reach.

• Do not use a candle during a power outage; use a flashlight.