JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A service dog who has been at Jerry Williams' side for the past 13 years guided him to safety as the house around them went up in flames.
"She always takes care of me," said Williams. "Sweetie" helped the disabled man find a way out of his home on East Rancho Road.
A cigarette started a fire inside the home on Tuesday afternoon. The house is a total loss.
Williams is in the hospital at St. Vincent's Hospital in good condition, but is thankful he made it out.
"I was trying to dose off, Sweetie jumped on the bed to let me know it was burning," said the 59 year-old man disabled from a stock car accident 30 years ago.
"After it (the fire) puffed up the second time, I started crawling, it was so dark. I could not see I hit my head on the cabinets so I hollered for her. I could hear her little chain rattling. I went straight towards her, she was at the back door," said Williams.
When Williams reached the back door, he said a woman passing by responded to his calls for help and dragged him to safety.
While Williams said he lost all of his material possessions including his wheelchair, he has what he values -- "Sweetie," a service dog who served him well.