According to Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Fire Department, the fire started around 4 a.m. in the 3700 block of Westwood Cove.
The family of four, including two children, told investigators they were asleep when their dog's barking woke them up.
“Their dog, the family dog, woke them up. Thank God for the dogs," Lt. Cooke said.
In the tight-knit community, several neighbors and people who just happened to be driving by saw the fire and called police.
"Everyone here knows each other and are friends, and it’s just like our own little community tucked away in the middle of the city," said Laurie Sziraky.
Because of the bitter cold and the location of the home in a cove on a lake, crews had a tough time battling the flames.
Nearly 50 firefighters were brought in to work together, taking turns to douse the fire.
"If there are injuries, we have additional firefighters that can step in and take their place," Lt. Cooke said.
As firefighters spent the next few hours putting out hot spots, a charred car sat near a destroyed carport hooked up to what was left of a boat.
“I’m sorry they lost their home, but hey, they didn’t get killed, so that’s the important thing," Sziraky said. "You can always replace a home, but you can’t ever replace a life.”
One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a back injury, but will be OK.
Thankfully for neighbors, the fire didn’t spread and nearby houses weren’t damaged.
Investigators still don’t know what sparked the fire or where it started.