An elderly couple's dog may have helped save them from an early-morning blaze, according to fire investigators.

Tampa authorities said 82-year-old Alice Ferrari and her 83-year-old friend Ted Kolanko were asleep when their small dog started acting up about 4 a.m. Saturday.

Ferrari thought the pooch needed to go outside, but when she opened the door, he ran out and came right back in.

She then discovered there was a fire in the ceiling of her laundry room.

The occupants and their dog escaped without injury, though house damages are estimated at $50,000.

A cat is still missing.