A dog with a nose for smoke woke his owners early today when the family house caught fire.

Ypsilanti Township Fire Capt. Brad Johnson said the dog “kind of saved the day for them” when it started barking at about 3:45 a.m. He said the dog’s owner got up to see what the problem was. As he approached the

garage, he smelled smoke and saw flames starting to come through the top of the door to the garage.

ohnson said the man was going to use a fire extinguisher, but when he grabbed the door knob to open the door, he burned his hand. The man and his wife then fled as a neighbor started pounding on the front door to tell them their house was on fire.

When firefighters pulled up at 5680 Caren Drive, Johnson said, the garage was engulfed in flames, and the blaze had spread to the family room and the attic over the second story.

The fire was so hot that it spread to a neighboring house, 20 feet away.

Township and Ypsilanti city firefighters battled both fires, stopping the second fire quickly, and the first one in time to save the living quarters in the house.

Johnson estimated damage at $150,000 for the building and contents, including two vehicles. He said Fire Marshal Phil Stachlewitz was on the scene at 7:45 a.m., attempting to determine what started the blaze.

Johnson said firefighters rescued the dog, and three cats, including one that suffered some burns and smoke inhalation. Firefighters were not able to save two parakeets.