SAYLOR TOWNSHIP, Iowa – A husband and wife were able to safely escape their burning Saylor Township home early Monday morning but the house is a total loss.

The couple who lives at 41 NW 68th Place was woken by smoke detectors going off and called 911 at 2:10 a.m., according to Assistant Chief Rob Zeis with the Saylor Township Fire Department. The couple was able to find one of their cats and immediately got out of the home, but the other cat has not yet been located.

When firefighters arrived, they saw flames on the exterior of the house extending up from a basement egress window and into the eaves and attic of the one-story home. Saylor Township crews and firefighters from the Johnston-Grimes Fire Department worked on the fire initially. After a third alarm was called on the fire, crews from Ankeny, Bondurant, Delaware Township, and Altoona fire departments arrived to help.

At one point there was a partial roof collapse and firefighters were pulled back to a defensive position. They were able to get the fire under control around 3:40 a.m. Crews remained at the scene for several hours afterward, monitoring for hot spots.

The couple did not suffer any injuries in the fire.

Asst. Chief Zeis said the critical takeaway from this fire is to make sure your smoke alarms are working and have fresh batteries in them. If that hadn’t been the case in this fire, it could have resulted in tragedy.

The home is considered a total loss.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials say it started in the home’s basement.