A 61-year-old man and a dog died Wednesday night as the result of a house fire in Athens.

According to the Morning Sentinel, the body of a pit bull named Dudley was found lying next to Gregory Corson. Family members say they believe the dog tried to save him from the fire. Corson, who suffered from dementia, lived in the family's homestead with his sister, Lola Corson, and her fiance, Shawn Quimby. The couple was visiting family at a home across the road when fire broke out. Quimby said he tried to get into the house, but firefighters blocked his way, saying it was too late to save him.

Less than a year ago, Lola and the dog survived when fire broke out in a camper, which sat next to her brother's house. The homestead at 5 North Road, that was built in the 1800's, was a total loss. Fire officials said the old post and beam style of the house made the fire challenging to fight.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office will now work to determine how the fire started.