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EXCLUSIVE: Guide Dog Leads Owner From Burning Home In Southwest Philadelphia

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diana-web Diana Rocco
Diana Rocco joined the Eyewitness News team as a general assign...
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By Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A blind man says he surely would have been killed if his guide dog didn’t lead him out of his burning home.

Tonight, he is speaking out and he’s talking only to Eyewitness News.

Luther Johnson, 74, is alive and he says that’s all that matters.

“I felt something nudging me, like touching me, and I jumped up, and that’s when I smelled the smoke,” he said.

Fire tore through his 59th and Chester Street home while he was sleeping. Luther lost his sight 30 years ago and has relied on guide dogs. Monday night it was two-year-old Yates that woke him up from a dead sleep.

“When I woke up I could hear him jumping and prancing, so I thought maybe it was him that was nudging me on my right shoulder,” Luther said.

Luther could smell the smoke and feel the heat of the fire. He knew he had to get out fast. He was able to grab his cell phone, coat and shoes and make out the front door with Yates leading the way, just as the fire department was arriving.

“Angels are God’s messengers and workers. So He sent them, he sent an angel, and I guess the angel was through my dog Yates,” Luther said.

Luther and Yates are now staying in Red Cross housing. He’s lost everything he owns, but still he’ll tell you this.

“I’m blessed. A lot of people don’t make it. All night and all day, that’s all I’ve been doing is thanking God,” he said.

The fire is still under investigation. Luther’s family believes it was electrical. He’s lived in this home and on this block for 38 years, but he’s grateful to be walking away with his life.

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