LARGO — A barking dog alerted a soon-to-be-married man that his home was on fire Wednesday morning.
Sean K. Elders of 9403 Arbol Court was asleep around 8:50 a.m. with ear plugs in his ears when he was awakened by his Pembroke Welsh corgi, Sam, which was barking and acting excited, Elders said.
The dog's behavior aroused Elders' suspicion. He went to investigate and saw smoke in the house. When he opened the door to the laundry room, he saw fire and smoke and started rounding up his other pets, a Bichon Frise named Einstein and a cat named Ginsu.
Elders and Sam were able to escape the house on their own. Firefighters found Einstein and Ginsu inside the house.
Elders was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, said Largo Fire Rescue division Chief David Mixson.
The fire does not appear to be suspicious and a preliminary investigation showed it may have been caused by a mechanical or electrical issue, Mixson said.
"It looks like the air conditioning unit was recently worked on and that's the area they've traced it to so far," he said.
Ceilings in the home collapsed, the garage was gutted and the house had severe smoke damage.
Damage was estimated at $35,000 but could go up, Mixson said, because the fire went into the attic, which exposed the roof trusses to the flames.
The home has been declared uninhabitable because of structural concerns, Mixson said.
"We're careful about letting people back in if there's any issues with integrity of the trusses," he said.
Elders said he is to be married to his fiance Danielle Wright on Friday.