One person escaped from a fire in the 600 block of North Madison Street this afternoon, crediting his dog with saving his life.
No one else was home at 609 1/2 N. Madison St., authorities said.
City firefighters launched an aggressive attack on the two-story residence, tucked between two other neighboring homes away from the main street. Firefighters used the Floral Street alley to attack the fire from the rear.
"He saved my life," exclaimed resident Thomas Peterson as he stroked his dog, Thor, on a neighboring porch. Peterson said he was asleep when the fire started in his home.
"I just woke up to the dog barking."
Peterson said a blanket covered the entrance to his bedroom, and "When I opened the blanket, it was pitch black smoke. I couldn't even see to get to the door."
Peterson said he made his way out of his home through the blinding smoke. He lived on the first floor of the residence, and his niece lived on the second-floor, he said, but she was not at home. Peterson said Thor got out as well.
"I kept calling his name until he got to me," said a relieved Peterson.
Authorities on the scene said the fire spread to the two neighboring homes, and firefighters worked quickly to knock down those fires. Thick smoke poured into the sky above the main residence as crews attacked from all sides, breaking windows to ventilate the smoke. Multiple hydrants were tapped to get water on the scene.
The cause of the fire will be under investigation this evening.
According to city records, the property is owned by Jeffrey and Lucretia Isherwood, who live next door.