DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)  -- As the nights get cooler, many will begin lighting their fireplaces.

One Dalton couple found out, a fire that starts in your fireplace could end up in your attic or worse.

A woman who says she slept the night away while a smoldering fire was slowing beginning to burn down her home.

Maria Estrada sits in the driveway of her Dalton home Wednesday but she won't go in. She says everything smells like smoke.

"Oh no, I'm not going to use the fireplace no more, nope. It's dangerous," Estrada says.

Late Monday afternoon Estrada started a fire in their wood burning fireplace. Hours later it was put out and the ashes were disposed but she didn't know a fire had begun deep within the walls of her home.

"We're relatively certain the fire started in a smoldering phase somewhere around 4 or 5 p.m. the evening prior to the fire," says Dalton Fire Deputy Chief Gary Baggett.  

Estrada says she got up around 3 a.m. and smelled smoke but thought nothing of it. She opened the windows and went back to bed but the smell was even stronger a couple hours later when she got up.

"I was looking around to see if everything was ok and to me everything was right," Estrada says.  

Her husband, who worked the night shift, came home a little while later and noticed smoke bellowing from their attic. Estrada was in the kitchen making coffee.

"He was like honey honey the house is burning and I was like you're crazy," says Estrada.  

"She was very lucky to escape this with just some damage to the structure," Baggett says.

He believes if her husband had not come home when he did the fire could have ended tragically.

"There were no working smoke detectors in the home," says Baggett. He hopes this serves as a reminder to homeowners to get their fireplace annually checked. 

"A chimney sweeper should check it at least once every year," Baggett says. "They also need to look for cracks in the fire brick."  

Baggett recommends having a chimney sweeper check your fireplace every year before you begin using it. He also says homeowners should look for cracks in the fire brick.

The Estradas do have insurance, but for now they're living a nearby hotel.