Ulysses, N.Y. — A dog likely saved its owners from a house fire in Tompkins County early Monday morning by waking them up, according to Trumansburg Assistant Fire Chief Rod Ferrentino.

A man and a woman were sleeping in bed in a farmhouse on Cold Springs Road in the town of Ulysses a little before 4:30 a.m. when the K-9 jumped on the man’s ankle.

Roused from bed, the couple smelled something unusual coming from the stove. The man went downstairs “and, lo and behold, they had a chimney fire,” Ferrentino said.

“The dog saved their lives,” Ferrentino said.

[fvplayer src=”http://ithacavoice.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Micah_mobile.mp4″ width=”854″ height=”480″ autoplay=”true” controlbar=”yes” loop=”true” mobile=”http://ithacavoice.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Micah_mobile.mp4″ splash=”http://ithacavoice.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/micahthumb.jpg”]

The homeowners called 911. The Trumansburg Fire Department arrived to find that the chimney fire had spread to the second floor.

Fire crews would remain on scene until about 7:30 a.m. Both the man and the woman, as well as three dogs and “one or two” cats, made it out safely, according to Ferrentino.

The family has been displaced by the blaze, Ferrentino said. The fire damaged three rooms — on both the second and first stories — and filled the rest of the house with smoke.

Members of the Enfield and Mecklenberg fire departments also responded to help extinguish the fire. Ferrentino said there may have been other fire departments involved he couldn’t remember.

Ferrentino also highlighted the dog’s role in ensuring that there were no injuries or fatalities in the blaze. The assistant fire chief emphasized that the dog somehow knew to jump on the man’s ankle, which had already been injured, to wake him up.

“They were sleeping; it was the middle of the night … and the dog woke them,” Ferrentino said.

The homeowner later said that the dog “jumped on my bad leg and wouldn’t stop,” according to Ferrentino.

“The only way the people were woken was by the dog. The dog’s a freaking hero. The dog saved their lives,” Ferrentino said.

Ferrentino said he asked the couple if the house’s smoke detectors had gone off. They said no — but that the dog had somehow sensed something was amiss.

There’s no way the dog would wake them in the middle of the night as a coincidence, Ferrentino said.

“The dog knew something wasn’t right,” Ferrentino said. “The guy said, ‘You could just smell something.’”

Ferrentino, a dog lover and owner himself, said the apparent rescue was a testament to the greatness of man’s best friend.

“All I know is that if it was my dog, he’d be eating a steak right now,” Ferrentino said.

Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.