Lifestyle Pets 'Hero' Florida Dog Helps Owner to Safety amid House Fire: 'She Saved My Life' Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson Lisa McDonald told WESH 2 News that lighting from the previous day played a large part in the fire By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE. A '90s teen and horror film connoisseur, she started at the brand in 2016, after a decade of working as a technical writer and then moonlighting as a journalist beginning in 2013. Originally from New Orleans, Jen grew up both in NOLA and Florida and eventually attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando (still her home base!), where she earned a bachelor's in English/technical communication, with a minor in magazine journalism. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 3, 2021 10:26 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Orange County Fire Rescue Twitter A dog in Tangerine, Florida, is being hailed as a "hero" after alerting her owner to a house fire, which ultimately helped him to safety. On Wednesday, Joel Rosa was awoken around 3 a.m. by his pooch Maggie at their home on Clayton Street, as flames engulfed the residence. "It was really scary," Rosa told local station WESH 2 News. "At the beginning, I thought that I [could] stop it myself even from outside." Maggie barked and woke Rosa up, and the two were able to make a safe escape as fire crews arrived to flames shooting "through the roof," Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson Lisa McDonald told the station. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. Hero Pit Bull Dog Receives Award from Texas Fire Department for Saving His Owner's Life McDonald explained that crews "worked a defensive fire and were able to knock it down, it did flare back up again," and said she thought lighting from the previous day played a large part in the blaze. "We believe it was a lightning strike from yesterday's storms that hit the house and that lightning festered inside the roof," she said. "This is a 7,000 square foot home. It's a very large home, and it was 80 percent involved with flames." "The homeowner should definitely thank his pet for waking him up," McDonald added. RELATED VIDEO: Meet Riggs, the Firehouse Dog Who Hangs Out With New York's Bravest as Part of the Team Firefighters were eventually able to get the fire under control, but it caused a partial collapse on one side of the two-story home. But Rosa is just thankful he and Maggie got out safely — and he can't sing her praises highly enough. "She's my hero. I love my dog and, you know, it's amazing," he told WESH 2 News. "She saved my life."