"This was close to being a fatal," one responder said.
It wasn't, authorities said, because four neighborhood youngsters who heard alarms quickly ran to get help.
Township Police Officers Randy Yevchak and Bill Pittelko and Company 3 Fire Chief Keith Weber forced open the door and found the Ridge Road home at the corner of Juanita Street filled with smoke shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13, Fire Public Information Officer Rich Poplaski said.
The woman's dog apparently turned on the stove by accident, igniting combustible materials that were on the range, he said.
Weber and the officers scooped up the woman and her pets and rushed them to safety.
Members of the West Milford Township First Aid Squad then took her to Chilton Hospital for treatment of what was described as smoke inhalation.
Firefighters doused the flames, limiting the damage.
Meanwhile, everyone involved was left counting their blessings.
"If these kids weren't there and didn't say anything immediately, it would have been a totally different outcome," a responder said.
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