North Carolina Man Saves His Family After Camera Meant to Detect Fox Picks Up House Fire Instead

A North Carolina man managed to save his family from a devastating house fire after a motion sensor camera he had set up outside tipped him off about the blaze.

Lee Spargo initially set up an outdoor game trail camera at his home near Mount Holly in hopes of catching a wild fox that had been preying on his chickens, but he was alerted of another danger Tuesday night when the device caught footage of his house being engulfed in flames, according to the Gaston Gazette.

A roaring fire inside the enclosed deck of Lee’s home triggered the camera and sent an alert to his phone around 2:22 a.m., the publication reported. Lee woke up thinking he had caught the fox, but soon realized that his house was on fire instead.

“If that wouldn’t have happened, we’d all be dead. It saved our lives,” he said. “I got up, thinking ‘Oh, the fox is out there and I’m going to get him.’ And then I saw a big reflection in the kitchen and I was like, ‘What is that?’”


Lee said he quickly jumped into action and got his wife Rhonda and his two kids Jonathan and Meagan out of the burning building.

The family was also able to rescue two of their four dogs from the fire, according to the Gaston Gazette. Unfortunately, Lee’s 4-year-old Shih Tzu-Chihuahau mix LuLu and 2-year-old Great Dane-Labrador mix Sampson did not survive.

“We were yelling for them to get out, but the poor things were just so scared. They were just trying to hide,” Lee said.

“I had to bury them. That’s a hard hole you have to dig,” he added. “All of this is irrelevant to me losing my puppies.”

Officials from the East Gaston Volunteer Fire Department spent more than three hours hours extinguishing the fire, though they had to return to the scene around 7:47 a.m. when high winds in the area had reignited some of the embers and caused more damage to the home, according to the Gaston Gazette.

The East Gaston Volunteer Fire Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“They dug around and said it was not arson. I’m glad to hear that,” Lee told the local newspaper.

Lee and his family also said they lost a number of heirlooms and personal belongings in the fire, including a treasured clock that had survived another blaze at relative’s home years ago.

“We’ve been here a long time. We raised our kids here,” he said. “We worked hard and lost it all in a couple hours.”

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