05/02/2013 12:39 pm ET Updated May 02, 2013

Dog Alerts Owner, Randy Merlo, To Fire, Saves Him From Blaze (VIDEO)

A dog has been credited with saving his owner's life after a fire broke out in a neighbor's home.

According to ABC affiliate WNEP-TV, 47-year-old Randy Merlo of Mount Carmel, Penn., was fast asleep early Wednesday when a fire began spreading through the unoccupied neighboring house. Merlo says his 12-year-old cocker spaniel Oz saved him from the encroaching blaze.

"He was nudging me, and I smelled smoke and we left," Merlo said. "Saved my life, yes, he probably did."

The blaze, which is said to have caused "extensive damage" to the neighbor's house, eventually spread to Merlo's home -- resulting in fire, smoke and water damage, according to local website News Item. Merlo has since had to move out and is staying with a friend.

Authorities have indicated that the fire may be "suspicious and incendiary in nature."

Chief Brian Hollenbush of Mount Carmel Township Police told WNEP-TV that they had received complaints about the house before.

Earlier this year, another dog was hailed a hero after she saved her owner, 72-year-old Rosemary Field of Bristol, England, from a spreading fire. According to Horse and Country TV, Barbie, a 7-year-old Jack Russell, licked her owner's face to alert her after a fallen bedside lamp caused her mattress to catch on fire. Field is reportedly a registered blind diabetic.

"They told me it was very lucky that Barbie had woken me up, or I might have slept through it and died," the dog's grateful owner told This Is Bristol in March.

RSPCA Bristol is reportedly planning to present the little dog with an award in recognition of her heroism.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled the dog owner's name. His name is Randy Merlo.



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