A sleeping family was saved from a fire raging in their Huntington house early Monday after they were awakened by the family dog, fire officials said.
Homeowner Michael Herlihy said Roxanne, a 5-year-old English bulldog, kept barking in his adult son's bedroom until his son woke up and alerted his parents.
The three fled their Dumbarton Drive home, where flames were consuming the first and second floors when firefighters arrived shortly after 1:40 a.m., said Huntington Fire Chief Robert Berry.
"Upon arrival, we had fire through the roof," he said.
Berry said the son was shaken when he told him he was saved by man's best friend.
"I thought that was great," said the chief, noting that it isn't uncommon for pets to alert their families to fires.
About 50 firefighters from Huntington, Halesite, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington Manor and Greenlawn helped battle the blaze, which took about 90 minutes to bring under control. Firefighters were on the scene until 4 a.m., sifting through the damage and dousing hot spots, officials said.
The fire made the house uninhabitable, but no one was injured, authorities said. Suffolk police arson detectives said it was an electrical fire.
Monday afternoon, Herlihy had little time to digest what had happened as he checked into a hotel and met with insurance adjusters. He said he had been awake for 24 hours.
"I lost my home, I'm trying to find a place to stay," Herlihy said. He said it will be at least nine months before the house is rebuilt and the family moves back in.
The house Monday was boarded up and a blue tarp covered the dormer windows and a hole in the roof, said Michael Marcinik, who lives across the street and had watched firefighters shoot water into the house from a ladder and truck.
Marcinik got a kick out of the dog's role as the "star" of the story, saying she is a "super affectionate" dog who gets daily morning walks and often lies in the front window, looking out.
Marcinik thinks the white and brown bulldog has even figured out how to unlatch the back gate.
Whenever he's working in the front yard, she gets out and runs across the street to him, he said. "It's too much of a coincidence," the neighbor said. "She'll run right to me and jump up on me."
Herlihy said Roxanne is staying with a neighbor for now because the hotel doesn't allow pets, even hero dogs. The family canine has been a "spoiled dog," Herlihy said: "I love her to death."