Dogs alert woman to attic fire

Feb. 04, 2014 @ 05:39 PM

While Melanie Dellinger went about her normal chores early Monday afternoon, her three dogs began barking and growling, so she went out the front door to see who might be in the yard. No one was there, but she thought she heard a roaring sound coming from the attic. She looked up and saw smoke coming from attic vents near the apex of the roof.

Dellinger, 37, said that when she called 911, the dispatcher had to plead her to calm down and stop screaming.

By the time firefighters arrived at 3876 Daffodil Lane north of Gamewell, flames leapt into the air from a hole burned through the roof.

The majority of the fire was in the attic, but the cause had not been determined Monday, Assistant Chief Michael Brewer of the Gamewell Fire Department said.

Dellinger said her husband, Darrell, had cleaned the chimney just eight days earlier.

Brewer said the gusting wind fueled the fire, but he doesn’t expect the house to be ruled a total loss.

The house, built in 1919, was bought by Dellinger’s grandparents and has been Dellinger’s home since she was born. The Dellingers lived in the house with two dachsunds and a Jack Russell terrier, and as she stood in a field, watching firefighters spray water through a gaping hole in the house’s roof and walked through the front door with a chainsaw, Dellinger wondered what would have happened without them. “My dogs saved my life.”

She doesn’t know if they will repair the house. She wasn’t even sure if she and her husband had fire insurance.

Dellinger said the Red Cross has arranged a room at a local hotel for them for a few nights. “I don’t know what we’re going to do from there.”