Tampa, Florida - 82-year-old Alice Ferrari and her friend, 83-year-old Ted Kolanko, were asleep inside their home when their small dog started acting up around 4 a.m. Saturday. The house is located at 2116 West Hamilton Avenue which is just west of Lowry Park. Ferrari and Kolanko are from West Virginia and had just moved into the home on Thursday. Kolanko says they planned to stay at the home during the winter months.
Ferrari told fire investigators that she thought Taffy needed to go outside, but when she opened the door the dog ran outside and right back in. That's when Ferrari smelled smoke and discovered a fire in the ceiling of the laundry room. She woke Kolanko up and they, along with two cats, were able to get out of the home safely.
Kolanko says they're grateful for Taffy. He inherited the dog from his sister who died about two years ago. When asked if he would give Taffy some extra treats he smiled and said, "We'll treat her good. We always do."
The Fire Investigator determined that a ceiling fan that was turned on inside the laundry room shorted out and caused the fire. He says that even though there was a smoke alarm in the house it hadn't sounded yet, because the fire and smoke were above the ceiling in the attic. The dog provided the two with an early warning that allowed them to escape.
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the flames under control and no one was hurt. Fire officials say the house sustained about $50,000 in damage.
Tammie Fields, Tampa Bay's 10 News