Man who escaped fire: When the dogs started barking, I got up
Roger Gene Phillips has never been more thankful for his dachshunds, Lady and Snoop.
While he was sleeping at 6 a.m. Monday, the dogs started barking and would not stop even after being told to be quiet.
When the dogs started barking, I got up, said Phillips, 60, who found the couch and the living room in flames.
The house at 1248 Maynard St. had two smoke detectors donated from the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, but they were on the kitchen table.
One didnt have a battery and the other had been disconnected, said Sgt. Ben Gleaton, a fire investigator.
I had planned on getting some batteries, Altenia Lockett said. I had taken them down so I could get some batteries.
She thought the dogs were barking at her daughter, who delivers papers, but soon realized it wasnt her they were upset about.
We said, Shut up, telling them to be quiet, but they wouldnt be quiet, Lockett said. And thats when Gene jumped up and said, The house is on fire!
By the time firefighters arrived, flames had spread to the attic.
Phillips and Lockett made it out safely, but when he went back for his cousin in the back room, Snoop followed and did not come out.
The firemen got him out. He was in the bathroom when they went back in there, Lockett said.
The front living room and porch were damaged in the blaze, said Gleaton, who is investigating the cause.
Phillips, who suffered minor burns to his back, was treated and released from Coliseum Hospital a few hours after the blaze.
He had been having some electrical problems behind that couch, Gleaton learned after talking to him at the hospital.
Gleaton found the smoke detectors and recognized them as ones the fire department distributes free of charge.
We put those things in for people, but it doesnt do any good if they dont keep batteries in them, he said.
Snoop and Lady set off their own vocal sirens when The Telegraph arrived on scene.
The two of them together might drown out a working smoke alarm.
Snoops high-pitched howls offset Ladys deeper, more menacing bark. But, shes about twice the size of Snoop.
She used to be little, but when we got her spayed, she just blowed up, Lockett said. Im just real thankful I had them. I tell you, I wouldnt get rid of them for nothing.
To contact Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.