The Buddy system saved the six of them.
Awakened early Thursday by the racket of Buddy the poodle barking his furry white ears off, Brian McIntosh figured that one of the thoroughbred horses he raises had gotten loose.
McIntosh, 47, bolted for the back porch. But it wasn't a loose horse. It was a fire, building fast.
He scrambled to wake up his mom and dad, wife, daughter and nephew and get everyone out of the house to safety.
They escaped the fire, though it wasn't easy.
His dad, who is disabled, had to be pushed out in a hospital bed.
McIntosh credits his 4-year-old poodle for saving their lives.
"There ain't no question about that," he said.
Fire crews responded shortly after 3 a.m. to a call about the fire at 10121 McIntosh Road. Crews saw flames coming through the roof and quickly spreading from one end of the home to the other.
It took about an hour to get it under control. By that time, the damage was done. The house was totaled. Much of what was inside was badly scorched.
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After calling firefighters, McIntosh first tried to fight the blaze with a garden hose.
"I thought I was going to get it out before they got here, but it just regenerated," he said.
The fire crawled up to the roof and quickly engulfed the home.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The American Red Cross will help the family with clothing and temporary housing.
McIntosh, who joked and laughed on occasion while talking about the fire, said he was thankful it didn't turn out worse.
"We're all alive," he said. "I can clean up and start over."