The family dog is credited with saving the lives of family members who were able to escape

PALMYRA — A Palmyra family lost a great-great-grandmother early Tuesday morning in a fire that destroyed their home at 1569 East Palmyra-Port Gibson Road.

Dorothy Bouwens, 84, died at the scene, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Three other family members were home at the time of the fire that broke out before 3 a.m. Ginger Sullivan, 50, and her grandson Isaiah Sullivan Bense, age unknown, were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Both were being treated at the hospital Tuesday afternoon, and Ginger Sullivan was listed in guarded condition Tuesday evening. Also in the home was Gerald Sullivan, 62, who received minor injuries.

Ms. Bouwens was Ginger Sullivan’s mother and Isaiah’s great-great-grandmother.

All four residents were asleep at the time of the fire and were reportedly awakened by the barking of the family’s dog, the sheriff’s office reported. Gerry Sullivan, Ms. Bouwens' son-in-law, told Messenger Post news partner News 10NBC his dog alerted them to the fire.

The East Palmyra Fire Department was dispatched at 2:53 a.m. for the report of a house fire. When they arrived, the found the small, ranch-style house fully engulfed.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation by members of the Sheriff’s Office and the Wayne County Fire Investigation team.

The East Palmyra Fire Department was assisted by units from Port Gibson, Palmyra, Newark, and Marion along with ambulances from Finger Lakes Ambulance and the Port Gibson Fire Department. The Wayne County highway department and the Wayne County Fire Coordinator's Office offered additional help.