Fred Leuenberger is a light sleeper.
When he awoke to the smell of smoke early Thursday, his electricity was out.
He walked outside his house at the corner of Walnut Creek Road and Alandale Drive and saw neighbors lights on.
Then he noticed the blaze.
I had seen flames and smoke coming out the top of my utility room, Leuenberger said. I told James, a grandson of mine, The house is on fire!
Both men got out safely as flames devoured half of the brick home in a neighborhood off Shurling Drive, but they couldnt find the family dog.
About 30 minutes after firefighters put out the flames, Mater, a Labrador retriever/hound mix they rescued from the swamp, came walking up for a happy reunion.
He rolled over on his back as James Leuenberger rubbed his belly.
Were all right. We got out all right, Fred Leuenberger said.
Macon-Bibb County Fire Department Lt. Roderick Colvard said he was thinking about the safety of the residents as firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from the back of the roof.
One radio report indicated someone could be trapped inside.
They had gotten out safely so we were able to knock the fire down, Colvard said.
Sgt. Ben Gleaton, a Macon-Bibb fire investigator, said a small fire that started Wednesday during the installation of a water heater was not fully extinguished and apparently smoldered and rekindled.
Colvard said the blaze should serve as a warning for folks to make sure their house is protected.
Always good advice to make sure you check your smoke detector, he said. Were coming up on that season where its starting to get cold. People start to turn the heaters on, so we want to make sure everyone has a working smoke detector.