Dog killed in house fire credited for saving homeowner’s life

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 9, 2014)-- An Indianapolis man credits his dog for saving his life after his home caught on fire.

The fire started inside Johnny Walker’s home along North Tacoma around 12:33 a.m. Walker said he woke up because he heard his dog, Bogey, barking.

“I woke up and I was thinking why is he screaming like that,” Walker said.

Bogey was in his cage downstairs and Walker was upstairs.

“I open the door. The fire was coming down the hallway. All I could think was let me bust this window out and jump off this room,” Walker said.

Walker tried to rescue Bogey, but he couldn’t. He immediately alerted his neighbors about the fire. One of his neighbors had water damage and the siding of the other neighbor’s home was damaged.

Walker admitted he was using two space heaters overnight. One of the space heaters was in the same room as Bogey's cage.

“You can’t go to sleep with (a) space heater on. Period. You see what it cost (me). You lose everything. (I) could’ve lost myself or anybody else around (me like) my neighbors. There were a lot of lives at stake other than mine,” Walker said.

Investigators believe the space heaters were too close to items that caught on fire. Homeowners should keep furniture, curtains,and any other items at least 3 feet away from space heaters. No one should leave a space heater unoccupied. Also check to make sure the space heater's cable is not damaged.

“When you are ready to go to bed, turn it off and close the door and that will trap that heat in the room, but you shouldn’t leave the space heater on overnight,” IFD Captain Rita Reith said.

Walker said he learned his lesson, but he said it was at the expense of his home and the loss of his dog.

“He’s the reason why I’m here today. He lost his life for me,” Walker said.

Walker said he had working smoke detectors in his home. Homeowners are encouraged to make sure their smoke detectors work.

Reith said families need to be extra careful and pay attention to appliances, holiday decorations, and any other item that may be too close to something that could catch on fire. It is important that families have an evacuation plan and are prepared in case of an emergency like this.