WALLY the dog is usually in the bad books for barking, but his late night yapping granted him hero status yesterday.
The kelpie labrador cross alerted his owners to a fire two doors down from their Herne Hill home with his repeated barking about 3.20am.
Arson squad members spent yesterday morning investigating the blaze at the unoccupied home, which is believed to have been deliberately lit.
Detective Senior-Constable Paul Michell, of Geelong CIU, said the fire caused about $100,000 damage, destroying a rear garage and bungalow before spreading to the house.
He said the Hilltop St home would probably have to be demolished.
Wally's owner Lynne said the energetic dog often annoyed the family with his barking, but she was grateful for it yesterday. "I never thought I'd say it, but he saved the day," Lynne said with a laugh.
She said his barking woke her about 3am and she went out to investigate, but couldn't see anything.
"About 10 minutes later he started going crazy again. I went outside and the backyard was full of smoke," Lynne said.
Lynne said she called the fire brigade and probably "woke the whole street" with her shouting to wake the next door neighbour whose home backs onto the burnt property.
"I couldn't get her gate open so I had to shout," she said.
Lynne commended the efforts of the CFA, saying she was impressed by how quickly they arrived.
Det Sen-Constable Michell said the arson squad had taken samples at the site, which would be analysed in their Melbourne laboratory.