Barking Dogs Help Save Family After Fire Hits Kentwood, Michigan Home

KENTWOOD, Mich. (AP) -- A family's barking dogs helped two adults and five children escape a weekend house fire by alerting them to the spreading blaze, but the animals were trapped and died in the flames.

Fire officials say an unattended candle sparked the fire Saturday morning. The people inside were able to flee after the father was awakened by the barking dogs - and managed to get everyone out safely.

``They were quite fortunate the dogs woke them up,'' Kentwood Deputy Fire Chief Mark Smith told The Grand Rapids Press.

The father, whose name was not released, got his wife and infant out of the house before returning to get the other children, who were sleeping. American Red Cross workers were on the scene to assist the family, providing afghans and teddy bears.

The mother went to bed and left a candle burning on a living-room table, Smith said. The father joined her after locking up the home, authorities said, and was apparently unaware a candle was still burning.

``It was setting on a table, burned down and was sitting on a holder not designed for heat,'' Smith said. ``The candle holder cracked, gets onto the window treatments, and it's gone.''

Flames were so intense they obliterated the living room.

``You can't tell it's a living room,'' Smith said.