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Barking Shih Tzu wakes owner to fire; hailed as hero

By Randall Jeppesen | Posted - Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:26pm


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PLEASANT GROVE — A small dog's yaps in the middle of the night helped save a neighbor's home from burning down.

Halia, Julie Timothy's Shih Tzu, began barking around 3 a.m. on Monday morning. The dog, normally quiet at night, kept barking after Timothy's call to be quiet, prompting Timothy to get up out of bed.

When she saw what Halia was barking at — their neighbor's detached garage in flames — Timothy took quick action. She called 911 and then ran next door.

"I dropped the phone from there and I thought I needed to go to the Petty's to make sure they got out on time. So I ran out the door and started banging on their doors and windows and ringing their doorbell and finally the dad got up," she said.

David and Laurie Petty were able to evacuate their home and get a safe distance away from their burning garage.

Firefighters arrived quickly and contained the fire in less than 10 minutes. The Fire Marshall told the Pettys that had the garage burned another 10 minutes, the building would have collapsed, becoming engulfed in flames which would have likely spread to their home.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if it had been another even 20, 30 minutes, we would have at least had serious damage to our home, if not put our lives in jeopardy. Bless that dog, great little dog, and Julia for doing all the right things and totally saving our garage, maybe our house and perhaps our lives," David Petty said.

Laurie Petty said Halia was a hero who saved her home and life.

The Pettys said that the cause of the fire was the straw lining of a rabbit hutch, which caught fire on a light bulb in the hutch. The four rabbits in the hutch did not survive.

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Randall Jeppesen

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