ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A Central Florida homeowner is thanking his dog for saving him as a fire tore through his home early Wednesday morning.
Firefighters worked for hours to put out the massive house fire that broke out on Clayton Street in northwest Orange County around 3:10 a.m.
The homeowner, Joel Rosa, says his little dog, named Maggie, started barking loudly and that's when he woke up to smoke and flames in his home. Both of them were able to escape safely.
"She's my hero. I love my dog. It is amazing. I would say she saved my life," he told FOX 35 News.
Nearly two hours after the fire broke out, flames were still seen shooting through the roof of the home. Officials say one side of the home partially collapsed.
"This is a 7,000 square foot home<" Orange County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Lisa McDonald said. "It’s a very large home and it was 80 percent involved with flames so the homeowner should definitely thank his pet for waking him up."
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Fire rescue believes the fire was caused by lightning.
"We believe it was a lightning strike from yesterday’s storms that hit the house and that lightning festered in the roof," McDonald said.
Fire rescue says a fire marshal will not be investigating.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates.