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October 25, 2014

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Dog hailed as hero for alerting deaf boy to fire

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Rita Reith / Indianapolis Fire Department / AP

This photo provided by the Indianapolis Fire Department shows Ace, a pit bull, resting outside the home of Lindsay and James Bernard of Indianapolis after the home caught fire Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Firefighters credited the dog with saving the life of the couple’s deaf son, Nick Lamb, 13, by licking the boy’s face until he woke up.

INDIANAPOLIS — A pit bull named Ace is being hailed as a hero for licking the face of a sleeping, deaf 13-year-old Indianapolis boy to alert him that the house was on fire.

Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith says Nick Lamb was home alone and sleeping without his hearing aids when the fire began Wednesday.

"My dog licked my face and woke me up," Lamb said. "I was like, 'Stop it! What? You want to be fed?' I thought he wanted to be fed or go outside."

Ace didn't stop licking Nick until the teen got up, too. That's when he realized the house was full of smoke.

"I couldn't hear anything because I had my cochlear implants off. ... My dog Ace smelled it," Lamb said. "I just wanted to get out."

Without his shoes but with Ace by his side, he covered his nose and mouth with his T-shirt darted out the back door, grabbing one of his implants along the way.

He then called his mother and 911.

Lindsay Bernard, Lamb's mother, credited Ace with saving her son from injury.

"It's amazing, because if he wouldn't have been there, he probably wouldn't have even woke up," Bernard said.

Lamb, who was born deaf, told firefighters that this was the first summer he was old enough to stay home alone and that he had returned from summer camp just three days earlier.

Firefighters found the family's cat, "Pixie," inside the home. She was taken to a vet for smoke inhalation and was expected to recover.

Damage to the home was estimated at $175,000.

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