A family pet's barking helped prevent a suspicious fire from claiming two Tamaqua row homes just after 2:30 a.m. today.

After being awakened by the sound of their pet dog, residents at 155 Penn Street noticed smoke filling the inside of their home. Upon further investigation, they looked out the back porch of their home to see the back of their adjacent neighbor's property, 157 Penn St., on fire.

Also awakened to the sound of the barking dog, residents of the burning home looked outside the back window to see flames rising from the lower back siding of their home.

Residents from both properties jumped into action by shoveling snow onto the fire, which kept the fire under control until firefighters could arrive.

"Who knows what would have happened if the dog didn't wake them in time," said Tom Hartz, Tamaqua Fire Chief. "This could have been a tragedy for many residents on this block."

Approximately two weeks ago, police and firefighters were called to the same area after someone reported a burning meteorite landing in their back yard. That incident was ruled suspicious as well.

Fire companies, police, ambulance and fire police from Tamaqua and surrounding communities responded. No injuries were reported.

Both Hartz and police stated that detailed information couldn't be released yet as the fire is suspicious and still under investigation. A State Police Fire Marshal is expected to arrive today to inspect the home.

"That dog definitely deserves a steak tonight," said Hartz.

"Before realizing their home was filling with smoke, the dog owners even told their dog to be quiet," added Hartz. "I'm glad the dog didn't listen."