Usually, I get up while it is still dark to let the dogs out. I know my way down the stairs and we have a nightlight on the landing. This morning was different. I smelled smoke and there was a haze in the front room. I let the dogs out the front door, then checked the wood-burning stove. I thought maybe smoke was leaking from it, but there were no smouldering embers from the night before. So I went into our sunroom/dining room (there is a photo on my About page showing the view from that room) because there is another fireplace there, a propane one with fake logs encased in glass on both the inside and the outside, so the fire can also be seen from the deck.
The glass compartment was filled with smoke. I had turned off the fire before we went to bed, so that was alarming. I turned off the propane. I went upstairs and awakened my wife. I told her to go to the bunkhouse. I called 911. We opened windows. Sugar wisely got a fire extinguisher and sprayed fire retardant on the bottom of the fireplace. I opened the gate for the fire trucks. I forgot it automatically closes when a vehicle passes over a loop in the lane. Sugar remembered and disabled it before the trucks got there.
The firefighters tore out the fireplace and the charred floor below it. There were never flames, just smoke. They extinguished the source of it. However, that left a hole in our wall about 5 feet by 5 feet. The temperature was very cold. Tonight it is 9 below zero. We will be sleeping in the bunkhouse.
I can guess what you are wondering, especially if you saw Lassie warn humans of fire and other dangers, and if you have read about dogs and even cats saving families sleeping during a fire. You are wondering why our dogs did not awaken us. Me too.
You are wondering why our smoke alarms did not go off. Me too.
We are grateful to the firefighters who saved our house and to God who saved us. Now about those dogs — not so much.