Frank Ellis, state coordinator of the New Jersey and PenJerDel chapters of the National Fire Sprinkler Association says "pet proofing your home is definitely a good strategy."

Ellis says dogs have started fires by pouncing on the knobs of a stove. There are devices to prevent that.

Also make sure a pet cannot get close to a chimney or space heater or any other source of ignition.

Some other pet fire-proofing ideas:

— Discourage pets from jumping or climbing anywhere in the house, especially in the kitchen.

— No chewing. If a pet bites into wires, a spark could start a fire, not to mention injuring the pet. Cover the wire with a bitter spray to discourage chewing.

— Keep all flammable items away from open flames, stoves or heat sources

— And if a fire starts, know where your pet is likely to hide. If you can't find them right away, let the firefighters know.

"Children should never be the ones that are responsible for grabbing the pets on the way out the door. We always want adults to do that," Ellis said.

He said you should also install a sprinkler system to squelch the fire before it spreads.

"Fire sprinklers save lives. That's really going to be the most effective way to to prevent tragedy," he said.

"We know that smoke detectors save lives — and they do a very good job of warning the occupants when there's a fire."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

Sign up for the Lite Rock 96.9 Newsletter

Get the best of Lite Rock delivered to your inbox every week.