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‘She’s my hero’: Dog alerts homeowner to house fire in Tangerine, officials say

<i>WESH</i><br/>Joel Rosa said he was sleeping when his dog started barking and woke him up
Joel Rosa said he was sleeping when his dog started barking and woke him up

By Christine Stanwood

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    TANGERINE, Florida (WESH) — Crews battled a house fire on Clayton Street in Tangerine overnight. That’s just west of US-441 in Orange County. The homeowner is thanking his pet for helping him get to safety.

Orange County Fire Rescue crews went to the scene in the 6000 block of Clayton Street to battle the flames.

That’s near the Orange County/Lake County border.

The 911 call came in Wednesday around 3:10 a.m. and the first crews arrived on the scene at 3:23 a.m. to see flames through the roof of the home.

Crews worked in defensive mode as the flames had gone through the roof of the second floor, officials said. There was a partial collapse on one side.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but homeowner Joel Rosa said he thinks it could have been caused by a lightning strike.

Rosa said he was sleeping when his dog started barking and woke him up, alerting him about the fire. They both escaped the home safely.

“It was really scary, really scary because I’m trying to, at the beginning I thought that I can stop it myself even from outside,” Rosa said.

“The fire was through the roof. We worked a defensive fire and were able to knock it down, it did flare back up again,” said Lisa McDonald, Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson.

McDonald said she also thinks lightning was a related factor.

“We believe it was a lightning strike from yesterday’s storms that hit the house and that lightning festered inside the roof,” McDonald said. “This is a 7,000 square foot home. It’s a very large home, and it was 80 percent involved with flames. The homeowner should definitely thank his pet for waking him up.”

Rosa said he is full of gratitude.

“She’s my hero. I love my dog and, you know, it’s amazing,” Rosa said. “She saved my life.”

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