WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A massive fire in Waveland early Thursday morning consumed three homes on Northshore Drive. Officials with the Waveland Fire Department tell WLOX news two of the homes were destroyed, and the third had major damage.
Joseph Neale said he and his two roommates where sound asleep when they awoke to his dog barking.
"The dogs saved our lives here tonight. He woke us up before the fire alarms went off. If he would not have been running and barking, I don't even want to think about it. His name was Coffee. He was a baby Doberman Pincher, best there ever was." Neale said fighting back tears.
Flames and smoke filled the house quickly. There was little time to react.
"There were flames shooting out of every window. There's no way to get out. There is only one stair case; it was on fire," fire victim Donna Fry recalled.
That's when they said they were forced to make a life or death decision.
"We had to make a move. We had to make a move. We lost integrity of the house. The smoke just billowed in; we had to get out, so we went to the back deck. We had to jump," Neale said.
It was 16 feet to the ground from the elevated home. One of his roommates Donald Ray was seriously injured while making that jump. He was taken to the hospital with a broken leg.
"The last one had to jump and broke his legs because fire was on the steps," Neale said. "The steps were the only way in and out of the house."
It took firefighters from three departments more than two hours to bring the blaze under control.
Assistant Chief with the Waveland Fire Department Mike Smith said, "From what I understand from the first arriving units, the flames were approximately 100 feet in the air."
He said those flames quickly spread to the houses next door. Fortunately, the couple inside of this one escaped the blaze unharmed. Authorities said the house on the other side is vacant.
Neale and Fry believe they're just blessed to be alive.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
However, the next door neighbors that escaped the blaze, say they saw flames coming from an outdoor air conditioning unit. That's where they believe the fire started.