Firefighters were called at 4:20 a.m. to the 5500 block of Patrick Court and found the garage engulfed in flames.
It was the persistent barking of the family's young dog that awoke the father of five early Sunday morning to discover fire had broken out.
The man got up to quiet the 5-month-old puppy when he heard a noise coming from the garage of their two-story home. When he opened the door to the garage he discovered flames coming from a car parked inside.
"He opened the door from the kitchen and was immediately met with smoke and heat conditions," said Captain Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett Fire Department. He said the man then gathered his family and all seven family members and escaped unharmed.
The puppy was unharmed. Firefighters also rescued two family cats who were not injured.
Rutledge said firefighters found "intense flames and heat from a vehicle" parked in the garage. The fire had spread to the attic directly above the garage before fighters brought the blaze under control.
“Fire crews did a great job of preventing this fire from spreading throughout the rest of the house,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.
Rutledge said "the blaze caused extensive damage to the garage and attic and severe damage to the exterior portion of the vehicle in the garage."
Firefighters helped the family salvage Christmas gifts that were inside the damaged vehicle.
The home was equipped with a smoke alarm, however they did not initially sound because there was no smoke inside the living areas of the home.
According to the father, there was no sign of smoke or fire in the home when he woke to the puppy barking. “The occupants are safe, because of an alert family pet. It is not uncommon to hear about household pets who alert people to danger,” Rutledge said.
Equipment at the scene:
- 1-Ladder Truck
- 1-Medic Unit
- 1-Air & Light Unit
- 2-Battalion Chiefs
- 1-Fire Investigator