According to Phoenix Fire Department officials, the smoke detectors at the home near Northern and 43rd Avenue were not working.
"My daughter and son both came into my room and said, hey mom, we both smell smoke, the house is on fire," said Jill Marchi.
Marchi was overcome with emotion early Thursday morning; grateful her 17-year-old daughter and younger son smelled the smoke when they did.
"We used to have an evaporative cooler, and there was an up duct, and flames were pouring in it, so we ran outside, and the whole top of the house was on fire," she said.
Cell phone video taken by neighbors shows flames shooting sky high, quickly engulfing the garage.
"I walked outside, and this whole side of the house over here is in flames," said neighbor Ricardo Hernandez.
It was around 1:30 a.m. when crews from Phoenix and Glendale Fire responded. Firefighters had a difficult time reaching the source of the blaze because the garage door was reinforced. More cell phone video showed them working to take it down.
Their biggest concern, however, was the lack of working smoke detectors.
"From what the kids were saying, they never heard any alarms going off, they didn't have them in working order," said Captain Aredell Felix with Phoenix Fire.
The homeowner said she couldn't afford to purchase working smoke detectors, but understands just how important they are and how different the outcome could have been.
"We're going to get them tomorrow," said Marchi.
A mom, her four kids, five dogs, and a turtle are all okay, thankful they have a tomorrow.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appears to have started in the garage.