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PORTLAND An alert Pomeranian helped save a blind man from a fire in Portland Tuesday morning, authorities said.

James Harris, 45, is blind and lives in a home at 13434 SE Harold St. He rents out an upstairs bedroom. The upstairs renter, Sandra Jones, also has a pet Pomeranian named Sugar Bear.

Everyone was asleep when the fire broke out early Tuesday and it was Sugar Bear who apparently first noticed the smell of smoke. The dog woke up Jones by barking at her before the fire alarms even started ringing.

Then, Jones called 9-1-1 and firefighters were dispatched quickly to the burning home. Within minutes, firefighters were able to find and rescue Harris from a downstairs room.

Working smoke alarms, an astute Pomeranian, and a quick response by firefighters all came together, resulting in a positive outcome for the individuals impacted by this morning's fire, said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah.

Harris was transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with burns and smoke inhalation. Hospital officials said he was listed in critical condition.

Investigators said a smoker's carelessness caused the fire, which resulted in approximately $25,000 damage to the home.

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