A dog is being hailed a hero after seven people were safely evacuated from a house fire in West Philadelphia.
At around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 18, homeowner Aubrey Lomax Jr, 52, awoke to the sound of the family dog, Jack, a 2-year-old shepherd-pit bull mix barking, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Lomax was initially annoyed, until he heard his son's girlfriend start screaming "Everybody get up!"
"I just tried to open the door and the flames just shot into my face," Lomax Jr told WTXF.
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The girlfriend never would have woken up and warned the home's six other residents if not for Jack. She was asleep next to her boyfriend and her 18-month-old daughter when the dog came into the bedroom and started licking her face. When she finally woke up, she noticed the fire and alerted the rest of the household.
"I'm glad [Jack] was there at the time because I could have lost my daughter and her at the same time," Aubrey Lomax III said. "I'm glad he's part of my family."
Other family members agreed Jack was the reason the family is alive today.
"Jack was very instrumental in waking up the mother, in licking her face, and barking," said family member Carol Lomax. "He stood by the daughter and started licking her face and he would not leave the room."
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Jennifer Leary, founder of the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, said that by the time her team arrived at the house, Jack and all seven members of the family, which includes three small children, were safely outside.
"When we walked up, the first thing they said to us was, 'He saved our lives! He saved our lives! He's our hero,'" said Leary.
Unfortunately, one of the family's two cats died in the fire. The house has extensive smoke, water and fire damage. The Red Cross is helping the family, while Red Paw Emergency is housing the pets temporarily. The cause of the blaze remains unknown and is still under investigation.
The Lomax family knows one thing for sure: If it wasn't for Jack, they may not still be alive.
"He is definitely a hero dog," said the elder Lomax. "He's a blessing in disguise."