A Carrollton family escaped a housefire early Sunday morning thanks to their chihuahua.
The Noriega family just moved into the home on the 2600-block of Rolling Meadow a week ago and was still unpacking and getting moved in when the fire broke out.
"We saw when they broke ground. Every step of the way, we would come by and check it and when they put the foundation down," said Leonardo Noriega, the homeowner. "I told my wife the first few nights I thought I was in a hotel, it was so new, so different."
The family believes a box fell onto an exterior flood light, starting the fire. As the fire moved upstairs, that's when the family's chihuahua started barking. He led the family upstairs to a room that had visible flames.
"The chihuahua. She's the one who alerted us to the fire. She saw the flames coming thru the window, the first floor. She started barking and barking. My mom looked up, sure enough there was flames," said Noriega.
The family of four grabbed the dog and their cat and ran outside. But during the escape the cat jumped from it's owners arms and ran back inside the home.
Carrollton firefighters arrived and put out the 3-alarm fire, but not before it destroyed most of the home. The department was assisted by firefighters from Plano, Lewisville, Addison and Farmers Branch.
A few moments later the cat was seen walking around outside, covered in soot. The cat was given oxygen by emergency personnel and is expected to be OK.
"I had no emotional. It was surreal. It was a movie or something. It wasn't until I saw the cat that it just hit me. That's when I really started crying," said Noriega. "We're just happy that we're all alive. Even our cat made it. We thought he was lost. He was the only member of the family that didn't come out."
The Carrollton Fire Department has not revealed an official cause of the fire.
NBC 5's Kim Fischer contributed to this report.