Tiny Hound Alerts Owner to Fire in Illinois

BURBANK, Ill. --

Some hubcaps do more than just jazz up a tire -- they can smell smoke and alert their owner of a potential danger. That's what happened early Monday morning in Burbank.

Hubcap, a 10-pound Chihuahua, smelled smoke and alerted owner Kym Sullivan by jumping up on her bed and licking her face.

"I woke up and asked him what he wanted. It was 2 in the morning," said Sullivan, 46. "He ran to the back door. I opened the door and could see and smell the white smoke throughout the hallway."

Minutes later, fire alarms went off and firefighters arrived at the three-story apartment complex in the 7800 block of South Rutherford Avenue.

Firefighters temporarily evacuated the tenants in 18 units. No one was injured.

Burbank Fire Chief Rich Harper said there was no fire, just smoke.

"We found smoke inside a washing machine in the (first-floor) laundry room," he said. "We're still investigating."

Tenants were allowed back into their apartments within 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Sullivan is calling Hubcap a hero.

"If it weren't for Hubcap, who knows what would have happened?" she said. "There was smoke throughout the hallway. And it's smoke that usually kills people in fires."

What makes Hubcap's actions even more heroic, she said, is that a man was killed two years ago in the same apartment complex after a fire broke out.

Copyright 2008, Sun-Times News Group

Copyright 2008 by NBC5.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.