Westchester dog alerts owner to church fire

Bear the German shepherd is getting all the praise and some extra treats, too. All because the pooch woke up his owner Kim Lewis in the middle of the night to let her know that something was terribly wrong. Her church was on fire.

The 4-year-old has always been a guard dog at his northern Westchester County home. But his bark in the middle of the night was one his owner never heard before.

"It was like a howling siren," said Lewis, who lives across the street from the Yorktown Assembly of God Church in Yorktown Heights. She saw that a fire was slowly spreading from the cross outside the church. So she ran across the street to wake up the church administrators.

Within minutes, firefighters arrived and put the fire out. The 50-year-old structure was damaged but still standing.

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"The fire chief did say if the call came in 5 to 10 minutes later, the entire church would have been engulfed in flames," Lewis said.

Thanks to Bear, there will still be a service this Sunday.

"If you think about it, 'god' spelled backwards is 'dog,'" Lewis said.