Woman, dog safe after Tues. night fire destroys Santa Claus home

Woman, dog safe after Tues. night fire destroys Santa Claus home

SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (WFIE) - If it wasn’t for their pet, the outcome for this family could have been a lot worse after their house erupted in flames.

We have found out the fire started in the garage, but eventually spread throughout the home.

The woman was in bed when she heard her dog barking, which woke her up. When she looked in the garage she found flames.

It started as a normal day for Carol Lance, but a devastating phone call changed everything in a heartbeat.

“We played euchre, we came home from euchre and the phone rang," recalls Lance. "I barely sat in the chair. She said ‘Mom! My house is on fire.’”

Lance’s daughter, Joyce had been in bed watching a movie around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Her dog, Roco, an Australian Shephard, started barking to get her attention.

That’s when Joyce got up to take a look around.

“She heard some popping going on in the garage and she opened the door," Lance explains. "And the flames just engulfed the entire kitchen practically.”

Lance rushed over to her daughter’s house unsure of how big the fire had grown.

“Just blazing, full blaze,” Lance describes.

Lance found her daughter outside sitting with their pastor. Her daughter was only able to grab a few personal possessions on the way out, like her phone and purse.

“There’s things in there that just can’t be replaced," says Assistant Fire Chief Bernie Stallman. "I mean, something’s obviously furniture and things like that, but there’s other personal stuff that is completely gone.”

It was a tough sight for Joyce’s son, who is a former stand-out on the Heritage Hills boys basketball team, who is now in college at UE.

“He came home in the night and he saw his home and everything, all his memorabilia and things from basketball and everything is gone and totally destroyed,” explains Lance.

Despite the destruction, a silver lining: his mom saved and safe after being alerted by the family dog.

“If the smoke inhalation would’ve gotten to her, she could’ve died in there,” Lance says.

What started the fire is still under investigation, but we’re learning it was likely an electrical issue. Investigators were able to trace where the fire started back to an area near the breaker panel.

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