SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas — Fernando Montes de Oca knows he got a second chance at life after he narrowly escaped a fire in his detached garage in Sulphur Springs.
Montes de Oca has his 3-year-old bull terrier named Rocky to thank. He has raised Rocky since he was a pup.
Fast forward three years and a week ago, and Rocky's the reason Montes de Oca is alive.
"Rocky did save my life and he deserves a big ole T-bone steak," Montes de Oca laughed.
Montes de Oca had fallen asleep on the couch in his detached garage. It was around 2 a.m. and he had woken up to Rocky barking loudly.
"I thought I was dreaming. I woke up and all I could see was flames," he said.
The garage was engulfed and nobody else was around. He luckily escaped just in the nick of time, but not without badly burning his hand on the door he pushed open.
"My whole palm, my whole hand was all burnt up," he said.
Montes de Oca was taken to the burn services department at Medical City Plano.
"They were deep second-degree burns to his hands. He's healing up nicely and we're watching him for good range of motion," said Jennifer Rosenthal, who is director of burn services at the hospital.
Medical City Plano is one of two burn centers in North Texas.
"Always put your hands on the door to check the temperature before you open it," advised Rosenthal.
Montes de Oca said there was little time do anything, and any time he did have was only because Rocky alerted him.
"My sisters and my dad tell me, 'God gave you a second chance dude. I don't know how you made it out of there','' Montes de Oca recalled.
The family told WFAA Rocky did get that T-bone steak and Montes de Oca feels he got a second chance at life with the help of his best friend.