An elderly man was led to safety by a neighbor who spotted a fire in the attic of his home on Saturday in San Rafael.

The neighbor saw flames coming from the residence at about 1 a.m., called the fire department and got the occupant, who is in his early 90s and lived alone, out of the burning house, said San Rafael Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Lydon.

"He was unaware that there was a problem," Lydon said of the unidentified resident, who did not have a functioning smoke detector in the house.

It took about 30 minutes for 18 fire fighters with four engines and a ladder truck to douse the blaze, which was confined to the attic and roof above the kitchen. Damage, estimated at $125,000 to the dwelling and $50,000 to its contents, rendered the house uninhabitable, Lydon said. The elderly resident was taken in by neighbors.