A German shepherd is credited with saving the lives of three family members early Monday during a blaze that destroyed a modular home at 12625 Beebe Road.
Mark Gorman, his daughter and his granddaughter narrowly escaped after being "chased out of the house by flames" following the heroic actions of the family pet, said Irving Fire Chief Larry Reynolds.
"The dog came in his bedroom and started licking this guy's face," Reynolds said. "The dog was also just jumping around and acting nervous. Within seconds, the smoke alarm went off. He ran to get his daughter and granddaughter and they were chased out of the house by flames. It was really very close."
Firefighters arrived at the scene around 3:30 a.m. and found half of the home fully engulfed in flames. Heavy smoke was billowing from the building and flames were shooting out of the windows.
The structure was declared a total loss. Although the German shepherd survived, two other pet dogs died.
The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team later determined a faulty extension cord to a Christmas tree sparked the fire.
"It was a 'real' Christmas tree and when it set on fire it started rolling pretty fast," Reynolds said.
The Sunset Bay and Hanover Center Fire departments and the Silver Creek Emergency Squad assisted at the scene.
Meanwhile, Gorman and his family members are staying with friends in Angola.
Chief Reynolds said he hopes the German shepherd, whose name was unavailable, receives his due credit.
"He deserves a big T-bone steak," the chief said. "He saved their lives."
The fire was the second one this month for the Irving Fire Department. Approximately two weeks ago, a fire gutted the upstairs of a home on Franklin Street.