GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - A Georgetown man narrowly escaped Wednesday's massive fire in the city's historic district.
However, his beloved dog died in the fire.
John Walters lived above one of the businesses that burned.
Five thirty in the morning, there's a knock on the door, my neighbor is telling me to get up, get up, the place is on fire," Walters recalled.
It turned out Walters and his neighbor were right in the middle of the inferno on Front Street.
"I run into her place and with her and try to get out the back door and flames were just leaping up. You couldn't walk through the back door," Walters said. "She asked me what do we do, and I said grab something and let's go, we got to go, go, go."
But first, Walters opened up his dog kennel to let his Australian cattle dog Jake out.
Jake tried to follow him.
Walters says at that point, the smoke was even worse.
He and his neighbor couldn't see.
"I grabbed her by the back of the her jacket and so we would walk out together and then my dog Jake got lost in the mix."
Somehow, they both got out of the building, unharmed.
"One minute longer we would not have made it out," said Walters.
He didn't forget about his dog.
"I turned around and ran back in to get Jake and I could only get halfway up the stairs before the smoke just stopped me in my tracks."
Jake never made it out.
"Everybody in this town associated me and Jake as being one. He would just walk along beside me," Walters explained.
Walters, an artist, lost several thousand dollars worth of paintings in the fire, but is thankful to be a survivor.
"I'm sure we'll get through this, rebuild and be stronger," he said.