PORTLAND – An alert Pomeranian helped save a blind man from a fire in Portland Tuesday morning, authorities said.
James Harris, 45, is blind and lives in a home at 13434 SE Harold St. He rents out some of the bedrooms. The upstairs renter, Sandra Jones, also has a pet Pomeranian named Sugar Bear.
Everyone was asleep when the fire broke out early Tuesday and it was Sugar Bear who apparently first noticed the smell of smoke. The dog woke up Jones by barking at her before the fire alarms even started ringing.
"She woke me up, because I am a real hard sleeper," Jones said. "She saved the day!"
Then, Jones called 9-1-1 and firefighters were dispatched quickly to the burning home. Within minutes, firefighters were able to find and rescue Harris from a downstairs room.
“Working smoke alarms, an astute Pomeranian, and a quick response by firefighters all came together, resulting in a positive outcome for the individuals impacted by this morning's fire," said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah.
Harris was transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with burns and smoke inhalation. Hospital officials said he was listed in critical condition.
Two other renters live in the home, investigators said, but they were not there at the time of the fire.
Investigators said Harris fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand and that's what sparked the fire. Damage was estimated at approximately $25,000.