Dog alerts Westlake family of house fire

By Lee Peck - bio | email

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) - It didn't take long for flames to engulf a home on Debra Lane in Westlake. Moments earlier the family was napping inside.

"My dog woke me up barking," recalled Patti Hoffpauir.

Realizing the house was on fire, Hoffpauir rushed to wake three year old Jolee and ten year old Briana.

"I could feel the heat on the floor," said Hoffpauir.

Renting the home, the family was staying above in the garage apartment while renovations were underway in the home. Their only way down blocked by smoke and flames.

"We opened the window and we all took a breath out the window because there was so much fire in the house and the smoke we couldn't breathe," said Briania.

With only minutes to spare, Hoffpauir decided to make a jump for it out this small window in the back.

"I had a quick very brief talk with the girls and told them the importance of what was happening and to trust me and I would not let anything happen to them. And so I decided to jump first," said Hoffpauir.

Briana would then drop Jolee and the dog down to Hoffpauir before jumping out herself.

"I just thought we were going to end up breaking something whenever we fell, but we are okay," said Briana.

Hoffpauir did sustain severe sprains in both legs but is expected to recover. The house is a total loss. The only thing to make it - grandmother's Bible and rosary along with several other items in a bedside bureau.

"It's just amazing how god works... Someone was definitely looking out for us when it happened," said Hoffpauir.

The family's guardian angel - the fifth member of the family: Wally the dog. Wally got his name 11 years ago when Hoffpauir adopted him at a Wal-Mart.

"He was looking at me - like choose me, choose me and so I did. And he's been the best pet I've ever owned - very intelligent, very loyal," said Hoffpauir.

Wally the dog - the real hero - returning the favor to the family who saved him.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. In the meantime, an account has been set up to help the family get back on their feet. If you would like to help you can donate to the "Michael Deaton Benefit Account" at any Cameron State Bank.

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