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Alert Puppy Rescues N.J. Family From Smoke Filled Home

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Bandit

MAYS LANDING, N.J. (CBS) – He’s just two years old and weighs merely 15 pounds, but “Bandit,” the puppy who was sleeping over at the DeStefani Family’s Mays Landing home Saturday night, is a giant in their minds.

When they went to sleep, forgetting the stoves burner was on with a hairbrush inside of a pot being sterilized, Bandit sprung into action to alert the family of the danger.

“100% yes I believe that bandit saved my life,” said Jennifer DeStefani. “He saved our family because he smelled the smoke.”

About 11:30pm Rich DeStefani had been boiling his wife Jennifer’s brushes, who styles hair for her friends occasionally.

“I ended up forgetting about it and went to bed. The smoke made it up the stairwell and under the door.” said Rich DeStefani.

Under the door of the master bedroom where Maya, 9, fell asleep with her mom and Bandit, who was staying away from the family’s cat Gracie and SharPei Stitch.

By 3:30am the smokey house didn’t get by houseguest Bandit’s sniffer.

“He was pounding on my chest jumping around like crazy,” said Jennifer. “The whole house was filled with thick black smoke you couldn’t see anything, he was waking us up”

“It was really a miracle” said Maya, who was excited for Bandit to stay over that night. “My mom had to drag me out of bed–when she did I just grabbed bandit and ran out of the house.”

Ryan Leitz, the dogs owner, says bandit thinks he’s human, but is usually clumsy, missing stairs and bumping into walls.

“It is a blessing he was here because they could have suffocated from all the fumes,” said Leitz.

“The brush was black, and mostly all melted not much left,” said Jennifer of her brush which was inside of the pot.

Fire officials told the family that the combination of plastic, with the Teflon pot, put off toxic gasses.

The DeStefani’s spent the last few days washing all of their clothes, keeping the windows open, using odor absorbers just to get smoky smell out of house, and they replaced all of their smoke detectors

“He’s definitely a hero he saved our family,” said Jennifer of their four legged savior.

Bandit caught the smokey danger and he caught the spotlight too.

Reported By: Cydney Long, CBS 3

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