GRANTSBORO, PAMLICO COUNTY -

A family dog helps a mother and son get to safety during an early morning house fire.

The fire broke out just before 4 o'clock Monday morning at a home in Grantsboro in Pamlico County. Valerie Lawton says five year old Sena, a pitbull, is a rescue dog. She's been with Lawton and her eight year old son for about a year and a half.

"I knew right away she was a smart dog," said Lawton.

Lawton says when the fire broke out smoke detectors in the home were going off but Lawton and her son were asleep and it was Sena, who's loud barking, alerted them to the danger.

"Sena started barking and raising sand during the night so bad that she woke me up. I woke up, I smelled smoke, I heard poppin' in the ceiling. My first thought was get my child out of this house and get my dog out of this house," recalled Lawton.

Lawton say Sena is usually shy and a little timid. Longtime friend, Libby McDonald is glad Sena spoke up.

"I believe this dog saved her and her sons life, I really do," said McDonald.

Pamlico County Fire Marshal, Chris Murray says the fire was contained to the attic. The home suffered major water and smoke damage. Several friends were at the home Monday helping Lawton clean up and salvage what they could.

"We're trying to help the best way we can," said McDonald.

The fire is still under investigation, but Pamlico County fire officials believe the cause may have been electrical.

PREVIOUS STORY: A pet dog alerted a family to a fire at their Pamlico County home Monday morning.

There fire happened at a home at 737 Highway 306 North in Grantsboro at about 3:45 a.m. Monday.

The people inside the house -- Valerie Lawton and her child-- made it out thanks to their rescued pet dog, Sena, who heard the smoke detector before the family did and began barking.

The fire was contained to the attic, said Fire Marshal Chris Murray. The house suffered smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, Murray said. The Red Cross is helping the family.