An off-duty Waco firefighter and a passerby jumped into action Friday afternoon when they spotted smoke coming from a Bagby Avenue home, and firefighters later saved two dogs from the blaze.

Donald Pruitt, an off-duty fire department engineer and the passerby were spraying the house down with a hose as fire crews arrived, officials said.

"They likely saved the house from burning down," Fire Marshal Lt. Riley Kilgo said. "We don't know who the other man was, but they definitely saved the house from more damage."

Fire crews responded to the house in the 4400 block of Bagby at about 2:10 p.m., Battalion Chief Chris Pechacek said. No one was home, but firefighters spotted two dogs inside. They went in and brought the dogs out to waiting Waco police officers. Officer Fabian Klecka kept the dogs in his patrol car while animal control officers were called.

Animal control Officer Jessica Underwood released the dogs to family friends of the homeowners, who took the dogs to an emergency veterinarian clinic for treatment.

Authorities said the dogs were scared and may have suffered smoke inhalation.

The fire was contained primarily to the attic, Pechacek said. The cause remains under investigation, but preliminary reports indicate it may started with an electrical issue in the attic, he said.

Kilgo said the roof was sagging, so code enforcement officers were called to check the structural integrity of the home. Code enforcement "red tagged" the house, designating it as unsafe for habitation.

The owners told fire officials they have insurance and have a place to stay away from the home after the fire.

The fire caused an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 in damage, Kilgo said.

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Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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