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Dog found protecting boy as deadly fire ripped through California home, mother says

POLLOCK PINES, Calif. - A California family was lucky to be alive after an early morning fire ripped through their home Tuesday, killing several of the family's pets.

A charred skeleton was all that was left of the home Wednesday.

"When it first happens you’re just thankful that everybody’s in one spot," Lisa Marghella told KTXL.

Marghella, who lives on Sly Park Road with her husband and son, said she woke up Tuesday morning to her husband yelling for her to get outside.

"He went to go grab a hose to put out the fire and that’s when he saw that my son's balcony was on fire," Marghella recalled.

That's when two other people staying at the home ran into the room to get Marghella’s 10-year-old son.

"She said the whole room was filled with smoke," Marghella said. "She couldn’t even see it. She really, honestly didn’t think my son was alive."

But what she did see was one of the family's dogs protecting him.

"Zoe, she was sleeping over his face so he didn’t get the smoke," Marghella said.

Unfortunately, Zoe did not make it out alive along with a cat and two other dogs. The family said one of the family's cats was found alive earlier Wednesday.

Even through loss, the family was fortunate the fire didn't spread.

"Had there been a substantial wind event taking place at that time then you did have a significant risk," said Tim Cordero with the El Dorado County Fire District.

Although Marghella said she was still taking it all in, she was just counting her blessings knowing her family made it out safe.

"We understand we lost some pets. We’ll have to grieve for them, we'll have a little memorial, but the most important thing is we all left with our lives," she said.

Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.