MIAMI SHORES (CBS4) â€• Gilberto Mejia could hear the dog barking through the fog of sleep, and he is happy Monday that it woke him up â€“ and saved his life.
“I feel really good about my dog,” Mejia said.
Mejia and Gustavo Prado where sleeping in their home on Northeast 2nd Avenue and 98th Street in Miami Shores at about 2 a.m. when the family dog, 9-year-old Gigio, began running and barking frantically.
“We were sleeping and our dog woke us up,” said Mejia. He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “He was barking and he was running around by the door up there.”
“Immediately I smelled something and there was definitely something that was going on,” said Mejia. “Because of this fire and smoke, he was going crazy. He was trying to wake us up.” Gigio succeeded.
“Once we got up we smelled the smoke and we ran out of the house,” said Mejia. “There was a lot of smoke. I feel really good about this dog.”
“It’s my beautiful dog, he’s a beautiful dog, he’s our hero. Now we love him more than ever,” Prado said.
Mejia says he was told by investigators started in the garage and may have been caused by the dryer. Mejia said he had been using the dryer early Monday morning and it was on when he went to bed around 12:30 a.m.
Authorities say this incident serves as an important reminder to keep your dryer’s exhaust vents and lint screens clean.
“What you want to make sure is to clean this every time. The lint in this can catch fire very easily,” said Capt. Eric Baum of the Miami-Dade Fire Department, who added that sometimes dogs can be good smoke detectors.
“They have this innate ability,” said Baum. “Dogs are much more attuned to everything than a human’s nose.”
Both men and the dog got out of the burning dwelling safely, thanks to Gigio.
Mejia said they wont be able to stay in their home because of the damage, but may find shelter at his sister’s. Of course Gigio is going, too. Mejia said they will never be separated after this.
“Oh my God,” said Prado. “I don’t know what to say. He is the best.”