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'Hero' dog alerts Lincoln couple to overnight house fire

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Early Saturday morning, Bobbi and Rod Adams were fast asleep in their bed. Then, a familiar sound jolted them awake.

Tillie, the couple's Chihuahua-dachshund mix, had run into their room and was going ballistic. She has always been a barker, Bobbi Adams said, but this time something was different.

Amid Tillie's frantic barking, the pair heard a strange popping noise. Glass shattering.

"We looked out our bedroom window, and it was all orange," Bobbi Adams said. "Our backyard was in flames."

A fire that had started on the deck began to spread inside. The couple got out of the house and called 911.

Overnight fire in west Lincoln results in total loss of home

Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews arrived at the home at Southwest 24th Street and West Laguna Road at 12:30 a.m., working on a fire that LFR Battalion Chief Jeremy Gegg called "extensive." Crews were on the scene for several hours.

As the blaze spread, Gegg said the home risked a structural collapse. 

Fire Investigator Jason Relford later said the home was a total loss. The fire's cause was undetermined as of Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a camper parked in the driveway.

The Adamses spent the rest of the night in the camper. Bobbi Adams said Saturday afternoon they'd since relocated.

"I think about some people that have a fire; they have nothing," she said. "We at least have a camper, and we have blankets."

Rod Adams said they've already been contacted by the Red Cross. The Adamses went shopping for a new wardrobe Saturday afternoon.

"Insurance will take care of the rest of it," he said. "We just have to be patient."

Saturday morning, the couple stood on the lawn, chatting with neighbors. With them were their dogs, Tillie and Sadie — Tillie as alert as ever. 

Bobbi Adams said she's thankful: It could've been much worse. She hates to imagine what would've happened if Tillie hadn't come running into their room when she realized something was wrong.

She believes her dog knew exactly what she was doing. Tillie might've saved their lives.

"She's the hero," she said. "We're always getting after her for barking, but this time it was a good thing."

The couple has a long way before normal, but Bobbi Adams is optimistic.

"We feel very blessed," she said. "We're going to be OK. We're going to rebuild."

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News intern

Jenna Thompson is a news intern who has previous writing and editing experience with her college paper and several literary journals. She is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing degrees in English and journalism.

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