DAYTON, Ohio --
Three people ran out the back of their burning duplex to safety after their dog's whining woke them up.
The fire happened around 4 a.m. Thursday at a home that sits on Milburn Avenue and faces Keowee Street.
A 3-month-old puppy named Poncho woke up one resident who then made sure everyone else got out.
Jeff Adams said Poncho woke him up by, "Whining, the other dog wa sleeping, she didn't even want to get up, matter of fact when she seen the fire she ran upstairs and under my bed so I had to go upstairs through the smoke, throw up the bed against the wall and find out where she's at."
Adams woke up his girlfriend and another friend, staying with them, and everyone bolted out the back door. The three stood and watch all their belongings burn.
Firefighters said the flames had a pretty good head start on them and they were immediately suspicious about how the fire started.
Fire officials said they believe that the flames started on the porch and moved inside. They said the fire started on the vacant side of the duplex.
Arson investigators were called to begin an in-depth examination, firefighters think someone intentionally started the fire.
The building was heavily damaged, but crews were able to prevent the flames from spreading to a business next door whose roof is just inches away.
Firefighters also said the puppy may have saved the residents lives. They did not find any working smoke detectors in the duplex.
Adams said he just brought the hero dog, Poncho, home three days ago because, "A buddy of ours couldn't keep him anymore so she(my girlfriend) brought him home and saiad he's an early birthday present so we have to keep him."
Adams said they couldn't be happier about that decision.
The American Red Cross is helping he and the other two victims with temporary shelter.
Firefighters said the house is still standing but is pretty much completely gutted on the inside.
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