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Dog 'Saved' Man's Life After Waking Him up During House Fire

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/29/2021 James Crump
a tree in front of a brick building: Joel Rosa's house in Tangerine, California, that was engulfed in flames following a lightning strike on Wednesday morning. © Orange County Fire Rescue Joel Rosa's house in Tangerine, California, that was engulfed in flames following a lightning strike on Wednesday morning.

A Florida man's life was "saved" when his dog woke him up in the middle of the night alerting him to a fire that had broken out at his house following a lightning strike.

Joel Rosa, from Tangerine in Florida, was woken up by his dog Maggie barking repeatedly at around 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, alerting him to a fire that started at the house when his residence was struck by lightning.

He told NBC affiliate WMTV that "she woke me up at like 3 in the morning, barking. I wake up, and I heard the noise on the roof. So, I came outside from the porch upstairs, and I look on the right side and see the fire.

"It was really scary, really scary because I'm trying to... At the beginning, I thought that I could stop it myself, even from outside."

Rosa quickly contacted the local fire department, who sent crews over to the property that had partially collapsed after part of the blaze had burned through the roof.

Lisa McDonald, a spokesperson for Orange County Fire Rescue confirmed to WMTV that the fire ended up burning through around 80 percent of Rosa's 7,000-square-foot property, as she said that he "should definitely thank his pet for waking him up."

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Rosa praised Maggie to WMTV on Wednesday, saying: "Oh, she's my hero. I love my dog. It's amazing. I would say she saved my life."

The U.S. has seen a large increase in large fires over the last month caused by severe weather, but there are currently no active wildfires in Florida as the state has been spared from severe damage this season.

There are currently 81 large wildfires burning in the U.S. after the heatwave and drought in early July caused blazes to break out across the West Coast, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

More than 21,400 wildland firefighters and incident management teams are battling the blazes, which have so far burned over 1.6 million acres across 12 states, with California and Oregon the worst affected.

California has seen 480,205 acres burned and 323 structures damaged or destroyed as 5,609 wildfires have been reported in 2021, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

Oregon has been the worst affected state in the U.S. as 546,808 acres have been burned by six fires including the Bootleg Fire, which has destroyed 413,400 acres while being 53 percent contained.

Newsweek has contacted Orange County Fire Rescue for comment.

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