A small puppy managed to escape a dangerous house fire early Friday morning near Mountainburg.
Dispatchers with the Crawford County Sheriff's Office say a house fire sparked around 3:30 a.m. at a home on Highway 71 North near Lake Fort Smith.
District 3 Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Hopwood said crews discovered a young dog hiding under the deck of the home.
"One of our firefighters found, what looks like a young dog, probably a puppy that was underneath the porch the entire time. He’d been there when the fire was at its hottest and looked to be okay. A little scared, but looked like he’s gonna be fine," said Hopwood.
The puppy, named Max, belongs to the homeowner, Lacey Bailey, and her husband and two children, a teenaged son and 1-year-old daughter. None of them were home at the time of the fire.
"I'm just glad we weren't home at the time that it happened because I don't think we would've made it out," said Bailey.
The home was halfway engulfed in flames when crews arrived, according to Hopwood. He says crews were unsure if anyone lived inside and sent in a search and tactical team to try to locate anyone inside the home.
Vicky Herring was worried her boyfriend's daughter, Bailey, and family were still in the home. She was overwhelmed when she learned they were safe.
"I found her and I got down and I thanked God she was alive," said Herring. "Both babies are alive and her old man's alive."
Firefighters say flames spread to nearby grass and forest surrounding the home, but was quickly contained within a setup perimeter around the home. Hopwood says roads at nearby Highway 71, were never in danger. However, crews did shutdown the road for a short time Friday morning as they worked to contain the fire.
Crews battled the fire for hours, before finally containing the flames just before 6:15 a.m. Friday. Firefighters say it took them hours to put out the fire. However, just before 8:30 a.m. Friday it appeared the fire had rekindled as flames could be seen from the deck and remaining rubble of the home.
The home sustained major damage and is considered to be a total loss.
Bailey says her family's plan is not clear, but they're hoping to stay with relatives until they find a new home.
Herring says she will be placing a container for donations at the Bassham Food Center in Mountainburg (218 Highway 71 SW, Mountainburg, AR 72946). Donations for the family can also be dropped off at the Subway in Alma (526 Highway 71 N, Alma AR 72921) where Herring works.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time, but Asst. Chief Hopwood says the fire appears to have started in the back corner of the house.
District 3 and Boston Mountain Fire Departments both responded to the fire.