IOWA, LA (KPLC) - When authorities responded to an early morning house fire in Iowa, they expected the worst.
Over 50 percent of the home was engulfed in flames, and firefighters couldn't get close enough to check to see if anyone was inside.
"With the house already being 50 percent involved, it didn't look good, so we figured we would have to do a body recovery," said assistant fire chief Glen Matte. "That is something we never want to do."
After getting the blaze under control, officials began checking the area behind the home.
Much to everyone's delight, the elderly homeowner was found alive.
"This is definitely one for the books," Matte said. "I heard a banging noise near one of the vehicles. I looked up, flashed my light and saw two dogs inside a van.
"I walked over there and found the gentlemen on the ground propped up against the van. I was like 'Oh Lord, this is awesome.'"
The man was loaded into an ambulance but refused treatment and left the area with family or friends.
Matte said the home, located on the corner of South Stockwell Avenue and West Third Street, was completely destroyed by the fire.
Units from several stations responded to the fire around 2:45 a.m.