MOUNT VERNON - A Mount Vernon man says his dog is his hero after she alerted him that his house was on fire Thursday afternoon.

The fire sparked at 3 Willow Place just after 12 p.m. Louis Antunez, the only resident home at the time, was asleep until he was awakened by his dog Lulu barking. Antunez says he was able to crawl through the smoke to safety.

Firefighters were forced to evacuate the house at one point because it was engulfed by flames and smoke. A cause is being investigated.

Two families lived at the house and have been placed in hotels tonight.