Dog Warns Family of Garage Fire
The 12-year-old German Shepherd of Belmont, N.H., reportedly saved his family's home from being reduced to rubble Sunday by barking insistently after a fire engulfed his owners' garage.
"He was really loud, crying," Tracy Briggs told The Laconia Daily Sun, saying she saw "smoke billowing from the garage" after her pet sounded the alarm.
While the family was able to save a tractor from the blaze, the cause of which is still unknown, they lament the loss of an array of cherished possession. Despite the loss of their mountain bikes and a snowmobile, Briggs said she recognizes that the situation could have been much worse.
After all, today's homes contain many more flammable materials than their predecessors.
In fact, a recent report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that a house fire may become uncontrollable in just three minutes. That's down from an average of 17 minutes 37 years ago.
"It's not how old the home is, it's the furnishings, Jack Watts, director of the Fire Safety Institute told AOL Real Estate in November.
Beyond smoke damage and burned eaves, the Briggs' home remains largely intact since firefighters were able to put out the blaze before it jumped to the couple's house. And Brutus' heroism has not gone unrewarded: He received a steak dinner from his proud owners.
According to the National Association of State Fire Marshals, homeowners should be most wary of upholstered furnishings since they often contain the highly flammable polyurethane foam. One of the most effective ways a homeowner can ensure that a house fire does not spread rapidly, experts say, is to install fire sprinklers.
Some states require that all new homes be equipped with the devices. The cost of installation is considerable though: on average, outfitting a 2,000-square-foot house with sprinklers costs $3,000.