PORTLAND – A dog is getting credit for saving the lives of five people in Southeast Portland.
Their home was on fire and the dog acted as their smoke detector.
The flames broke out overnight at the home on 86th Avenue and Crystal Springs Boulevard, just off Interstate 205.
Five people were inside the burning rental home, but the fire didn’t wake them up. That is, not until one of their dogs started whining loudly.
Thanks to the noisy dog, everyone got out safely.
"Without working smoke detectors, the dog really did save the occupants life in this house," said Tommy Schroeder with Portland Fire & Rescue. "In this case, tragedy was definitely averted."
There was a fire in the fireplace when everyone went to sleep Monday night. Fire inspectors believe heat and sparks got through cracks in the mid-1960s fireplace, sparking a fire in the attic.
The home did not have any working smoke detectors, which is a state housing violation.
Urban Garrett, one of the five tenants in the home, told KGW they learned that the hard way.
“When people move in places, they should make sure that they have working alarms because if the fire doesn't kill you, the smoke does,” he said. “That could have easily happened to all of us. Fortunately, everyone got out unharmed and that's a blessing.”
City housing inspectors said the landlord will now get a violation notice and have 30 days to bring the rental home up to code. A failure to do so will result in a $280 monthly fine and the penalty will double after three months.
The law states that rentals must have working smoke alarms outside every bedroom and in common areas.
Firefighters said this blaze served as a reminder why every homeowner who has a fireplace and chimney should clean and inspect it before each winter season.
"You just want to make sure that places where you keep fires -- your flues, your liners and chimneys -- are in good repair," Schroeder said. "That's not something people consider very often."