ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - A homeowner who lost two dogs in an overnight fire is crediting one of those -- a puppy -- for saving his life.
"She is a hero," homeowner Sean Kearney said about 7-month-old Sasha. "She's the one that got me up... without her, it could've been a lot worse."
Firefighters were called to Cypress Landing Drive in Atlantic Beach, where flames broke out just before 1 a.m. Kearney said he and his roommate were able to make it out safely because of Sasha's barking.
"I was woken by my dog barking -- just barking louder than usual, so I knew something was up."
Kearney said he got up and looked out his bedroom window to see flames coming out of the back of his home.
"It's been so long since I checked my fire detectors and stuff like that. I let it lapse, so I don't think it was working," Kearney said. "If she hadn't awakened me, I probably would have breathed in some of that smoke. Everybody in the house could have died."
Tragically, he said he lost Sasha and another dog, Guinness.
"(Sasha) must not have been able to see in the way of all the smoke," Kearney said. "I'm just at a loss ... the house is just gone. This is my mom's house, my family's house. I lost her about two years ago and I lost my brother. I've got no family or anything like that. This is the only thing I had."
Kearney initially thought a cat died in the fire, but it showed up unharmed later in the morning.
One item left untouched was an urn holding the remains of Kearney's brother. He said he and his loved ones believe this is a sign.
Kearney said he had no insurance on the home.
The state fire marshal believes the fire started in a covered patio area that was converted to a spare bedroom. They are using a K-9 to help investigate the cause of the fire.
Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.