SORRENTO, Fla. - A Maitland police officer is crediting his very own dog for saving his life after he said lightning struck his home and sparked a fire.
"Started a fire in the attic, and obviously it moved to the rest of the house," explained Joshua Rotarious.
He said he was sleeping when lightning struck his home. It was actually his dog Null, that got his attention as smoke filled the house, back on July 1.
"He was making kind of a strange noise which wasn’t common for him. So it kind of woke me up."
When Joshua opened his eyes, "I couldn’t see anything, and then I noticed I couldn’t breathe."
Maitland police officer Joshua Rotarious with his dog.
Joshua said at the time he was in his bedroom. He was able to run outside, even though the floor was burning hot. And went right through a sliding glass door. However, he said as soon as he got out, he turned around back inside to get his dog.
"I managed to get him out of his crate after I got pretty low."
After getting Null out of his cage, both of them escaped the fire.
"When we got outside he didn’t know what to do because I wasn’t well. I was kind of freaking out about the whole house being on fire and getting burned."
Joshua, who’s a Maitland Police officer, was the one to get emergency care that night for smoke inhalation.
"Me and him both got burns to our feet.'
This is the first time he has been back since his home was destroyed.
"I have to try to rebuild it," he said, wiping away tears.
Even though the house is insured, he’s concerned it won’t cover all his damages.
"Gonna help me get it demolished. But inflation is up and cost of materials is up, so it’s gonna, it’s gonna take a little bit to get that part situated."
But as he looks at everything he lost, he's grateful to still have his most valued treasure. "I got him left."
Joshua says, his silver lab will be getting a special treat for saving his life.
"As soon as he gets off his meds he’s getting a nice steak."
Click here to visit the GoFundMe page that has been set up to assist Officer Rotarious.