LAPORTE, Ind. (CBS) — A house fire in northwest Indiana on Monday might have been started by the family dog.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, when firefighters arrived at the house on the 1600 block of Stone Lake Drive in LaPorte, a burner on the stove was on.

Neighbors had already broken down a door to rescue Otis, a Labrador Retriever-Beagle mix who they could hear whimpering inside.

“I was just, ‘I’m getting this dog out of this house. I don’t care what it takes,’” neighbor Blayne Kramer told WSBT-TV in South Bend. “It was like a child. … Somebody’s pet. I wasn’t about to let that dog die.”

Kramer said he crawled inside the house, amid thick smoke, to find Otis and get him outside, where Lorri Price was waiting.

“He was covered with soot. His tongue was black. We just shoveled … you know, put snow up into his mouth, trying to get him some moisture,” she said.

Firefighters gave Otis oxygen, and that brought him around.

LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said the theory is the dog was trying to reach food on the counter, and managed to turn on the burner, which ignited flammable material in the kitchen.

Firefighters said Kramer could have killed himself rescuing Otis, but Kramer said he’s just happy he could save his neighbor’s pet.

“I just feel a little boy woke up with his dog this morning. That’s all that matters to me,” he said.