SPARTA — A man whose house was on fire in North Jersey initially refused to leave after being startled awake by a police officer and firefighter.

Sparta Police Sgt. Dennis Proctor said the officers went to the door of the home on Maple Parkway around 3:25 p.m. and knocked after noticing the owner of the home inside. The man in his 60s, whose identity Proctor did not disclose, was skeptical and closed the door on them.

"When the officer arrived he said only a little bit of the porch area was actually up in flames and it was starting to go up the roof line and in under five minutes it was totally engulfed," said Proctor. The officers opened the door and got the man out.

Proctor said the man was not rude but was more startled.

"It could have been being awakened and being disoriented and opening the door and seeing fire right there. I think that was more of the reaction of closing the door," said Proctor.

Proctor said the man's wife was not at home at the time.

"They were unable to find the two dogs he had in the house. It's not confirmed, but looking at those pictures (of the fire) its presumed they didn't survive the fire," Proctor said.

The man was hospitalized for observation as Proctor said he did not appear to have any injuries.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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