WEST KEANSBURG - A Monmouth County family has a real life hero to thank, and he happens to be of the canine variety.
The Larnaitis family says their dog Trooper alerted them to high levels of carbon monoxide in their home on Sunday night.
"He saved our lives," says Jordan Larnaitis, 5. "We knew something was wrong because the dog told us."
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Dad Craig Larnaitis says their carbon monoxide detector beeped briefly on Friday night. "On the back of the detector it says three short beeps is probably a malfunction." So the family says they weren't alarmed.
But on Sunday night, when they turned the heat on, Trooper started to jump on walls and growl at their furnace. They decided to call the fire department, who detected dangerous levels of carbon monoxide inside the home.
"They said if we didn't call them, we wouldn't have woken up the next day," Toni-Ann Larnaitis says. "Now I owe everything to him. My heart's still racing now, because it's just horrible what could have happened to us."
Craig Larnaitis agrees. "My kids, my wife that's everything I have, and everything important to me."
The leak is being attributed to venting problems with their old furnace, which has been replaced, along with their carbon monoxide detector.
Trooper has earned himself a nice T-bone steak, according to the family.
The family says they are telling their story, so others can learn from their close call.