Members of a Manchester family escape with their lives but their home is in ruins and their dog is dead after a Christmas Eve blaze nearly leveled the dwelling.

Pine Lake Park home is devoured by flames early Christmas Eve. (Manchester Police Dept.)

Police declined to identify the family but say three members were in the one-story wood-frame Lawrence Avenue dwelling in the township's Pine Lake Park section when it erupted in flames early Monday morning.

Firefighters began arriving at about 6:20 AM, say authorities, and found flames already devouring the house.  The family members escaped but their dog was trapped and didn't survive the flames, smoke and heat. It isn't clear whether any of the family members required medical attention.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the fire may have ignited in the back of the structure, but the cause and origin are still under probe by Ocean County Sheriff's Investigators Harry Roon and John Pasola, in the Fire Marshall's office.

Also responding to the scene were crews from the Manchester, Ridgeway, and Whiting fire companies; Toms River Fire Company Two; Lanoka Harbor Fire Company; the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst firefighting squad; Manchester First Aiders and Police, and Quality Medical Transport.