The fire alarm "only lasted a short 'beep beep'" before the house "was already on fire," homeowner Leroy Butler told WTVT. So Zippy stepped in, sounding his own alarm to notify his those closest to him.
"He was back and forth. He was from bed to bed, back and forth," Butler said of Zippy, adding the dog was barking as loudly as possible. "He was a part of the fire alarm, he was barking," he added to WTSP.
The Butler family was able to get out of the home in time, but Zippy didn't make it. Butler said he tried going back for him, but the fire was too big.
"The floor in the living room was all on fire so there was nowhere for him to run out. Even if the smoke was this high. He was a short little dog," Butler said. "There was nowhere for him to go."
Local fire officials said the fire spread from the attic near an air conditioning unit. It's unclear how it started.
Adopted for the Butlers by Leroy's father, Zippy was described as "a good dog." His owner said: "He did his job, we rescued him, and I guess he returned the favor."
"He would let me know if someone was outside. With the smoke, he still did his job. That’s just one thing and one person that I couldn’t save and one person I couldn’t get to," Butler said.