The family dog was responsible for alerting its owner to a fire thought to have started near the Christmas tree.
It's been said a dog is man's best friend, and that certainly was the case Wednesday night in Eagan where authorities say a family dog was responsible for helping a homeowner escape a house fire.
Cathy Minnig was home alone and exercising in the basement listening to her iPod when her lab Riley began jumping on and off the couch and "acting very strange and peculiar," Fire Chief Mike Scott said.
When Minnig removed her headphones, she heard fire alarms. By the time she ran upstairs, the living room was engulfed in flames. Minnig grabbed the dog and ran outside, Scott said.
"That was a real smart dog," he said. "Without the dog, she would have never made it out."
Neither Minnig nor the dog, which she has had only a short time, was hurt. The woman's two sons were not home at the time.
Minnig would only say, "I'm overwhelmed."
Crews arrived to see flames shooting out of several windows of the house on the 1470 block of Highview Avenue. Scott said the fire melted power lines attached to the house and ruptured the gas line. Firefighters had to call in heavy equipment to dig up the gas line in order to shut off service to the house, Scott said.
The house is a total loss, he said.
Scott said the origin of the fire appeared to be near the Christmas tree.