Nell Honican's dogs woke her early Thursday with their barking.
Startled, she opened the door of her apartment and saw flames in the hallway. Honican saw only one way out: she jumped from the third-floor balcony of her apartment.
Honican, 58, suffered a shattered heel and two broken vertebrae. She was listed in fair condition Friday at University of Kentucky Hospital.
Her dogs, Baby and Fancy, died in the fire. Honican also lost all her possessions.
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Still, Honican said she might have died if it weren't for Baby and Fancy.
"When I'm asleep, I'm asleep, unless my dogs are barking," she said.
Honican's injuries were the most serious in Thursday's fire at Parkway Apartments on Centre Parkway near Tates Creek Elementary School. The fire, which investigators say was set intentionally, left 64 people homeless as it destroyed or damaged 15 apartments. City inspectors condemned 21 other units.
Investigators have charged Brandon Deshawn Dockery, 21, with first-degree arson, four counts of attempted murder and 20 counts of wanton endangerment. He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Friday in Fayette District Court.
Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Dockery had gone to the apartment complex to visit a woman, whom police and apartment management would not identify. Another man was in the apartment with the woman, Roberts said, which started an argument that woke several neighbors.
According to a police report, Dockery "threatened to kill" everyone inside the apartment.
Ryan Curry, 19, who lived on the second floor underneath the woman, said Dockery stood outside his window and shouted for someone to come down and fight him, motioning toward his waistband as if he had a gun.
Roberts said Dockery shouted he was going to burn the place down, left, then returned with gasoline. Dockery "started a fire outside of apartment 59," the report says.
Fire investigators have determined gasoline was used as an accelerant. They arrived at the scene at 3:15 a.m.
Investigators searched for Dockery for several hours before he turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon. Dockery was interviewed by police and admitted starting the fire, a police report says.
Dockery has had legal troubles before. According to court documents, he is on probation from a wanton-endangerment conviction.
Dockery previously had a wanton endangerment conviction for firing a gun in the direction of a crowd and injuring one person outside the Lexington Ice Center in 2008.
A man was shot from behind in that incident, records said.
Dockery pleaded guilty to the shooting on Jan. 16, 2009. He was on probation for that conviction until 2013, according to court records.
In September, less than a year after receiving probation, Dockery tested positive for marijuana use, according to court records. He was given a warning and enrolled in substance-abuse counseling.
Kirk Gausepohl, Dockery's probation officer, declined to comment, referring calls to the Kentucky Department of Corrections. A spokeswoman for the department did not return calls Friday.
Dockery is the son of Jamal Covington, who was shot to death in May 2008. Dockery, 18 at the time, was shot in the thigh the same day his father was killed.