'Man's best friend' saves family from house fire

'Man's best friend' saves family from house fire

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by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 12:47 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 9:30 AM

CRAMERTON, N.C. -- A Cramerton family was burned out of their home last week, losing almost everything they had.

They are thankful to be alive and are giving all the credit to their dog, who knew something was very wrong.

"It hurts bad. It's like my whole heart has been ripped out," said Francis Reinhardt.

She lived in the home with her daughter and son-in-law, their two young children and their 2-year-old Boxer, Allie.

The fire at their home on Kirkland Road has forced them to leave each other and move in with friends and other local family members.

The fact that they survived at all is thanks to Allie. The dog was on the couch when the fire started, and she reacted.

"My son-in-law said it was a different bark and so it woke him up," Reinhardt said.

He woke Reinhardt and together they got everyone else out of the house safely. While they survived, they also lost nearly everything.

"I don't know what I am going to do," Reinhardt said. "I don't have insurance on this house."

Family friend Chris Phifer heard how the family had to split up and he has started the Reinhardt Family Fund to try and help.

So far he has collected some $300 along with clothes and food. He is hoping to get enough to reunite the family.

"I just got overwhelmed and I just felt like I needed to do something for them and the first thing I thought of was some kind of reconstruction or something because they lost everything," said Phifer.

With the family split up, even Allie had to go and live with a family that was willing to take her for a while.

Reinhardt knows that if Allie had not barked, what was a terrible situation could have been much worse.

"I haven't ever really liked that dog," she said. "But I like her now."

If people want to help they can make a donation at any Wells Fargo Bank branch in the area.

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