BARRIE, ONT. -- An Adjala-Tosorontio family has their dog to thank for helping them escape a fire.

Flames ate through the attic of the family's home in the dark of early Sunday morning. Assistant District Fire Chief Peter Piroli says it took a while for telltale smoke to build because the fire was tucked away.

"As things were free-burning above them, they were sleeping soundly. Because of the drywall and how tight the insulation was, they weren't getting any smoke to activate the alarms. But the dog knew what was happening."

Piroli says a Doberman Pinscher alerted the family to the danger, and they managed to get out of the home safely before smoke detectors started sounding.

Piroli describes the blaze as stubborn, hard to get to and hard to get out. Adjala-Tosorontio's fire department called colleagues from New Tecumseth, Rosemont, and Everett in to help.

With damage to the home estimated at several hundred thousand dollars, the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office is looking into what caused the fire.