HOUSTON -

An elderly man's home was badly burned after a fire Thursday morning.

Houston firefighters arrived at the 80-year-old man's home shortly after midnight.

Fire officials said a neighbor kicked in the front door to help the man escape the flames.

Armando Delatorre said once inside, he had to crawl around in the dark. Eventually, he was forced to leave the house because of the smoke. The man then made it out on his own.

“He walked out. I don't think he knew where he was at until we opened the door and he saw the light,” said Delatorre.

The man was out of the house by the time firefighters arrived, and neighbors and firefighters were able to rescue the family's three dogs.

In a strange turn of events, a neighbor discovered one of the dogs that had been inside was actually her long lost pet. The family who owns the home took the dog in, thinking it was a stray.

“I didn’t know what to think. I was crying! They have been taking great care of her. They took her to the vet and everything,” said Shire Hicks.

Fire crews found the home engulfed by flames and smoke, but were able to extinguish the fire quickly.

Investigators said the fire started because the homeowner had left a pile of clothes too close to a space heater.

The fire burned more than half of the house the man had lived in for the past 40 years.

The elderly man was able to escape the home safely.