6-year-old boy saves family from Dam Store fire

5:41 PM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Dam Store catches fire, family escapes unharmed

  • 6-year-old Rhett Massey saved his family from a fire that damaged an iconic Lake Lanier business.

BUFORD, Ga. -- A 6-year-old boy is being credited with saving his entire family from a fire in Gwinnett County Tuesday night.

The fire damaged The Dam Store, an iconic business that has served visitors to Lake Lanier for more than 50 years.

Rhett Massey smelled smoke at around midnight and alerted his mother, who woke the rest of the family.

"Woke 'em up and saved their lives," said David Clark, Rhett's grandfather. "Real proud of him."

Rhett's family took over operations at The Dam Store just three months ago. They were sleeping in an adjoining apartment when the 6-year-old alerted them to escape.

"Tony grabbed the kids and we all went downstairs," said Noel Massey, Rhett's mother. "We realized Cody wasn't with us, so Tony ran back upstairs and grabbed him."

Mom, dad, and all four kids made it out safely. The family says there was an explosion after they were out of the building.

Gwinnett County firefighters haven't yet determined the cause of the fire.

"We are fortunate that everyone was able to escape unharmed, especially given the intensity of the fire on arrival," Rutledge said.

The fire completely engulfed the two-story apartment and collapsed a portion of the roof, Rutledge said. The actual Dam Store suffered some  damage. A boat docked nearby also caught fire.

The Masseys put every penny they had into operating The Dam Store. They're unsure what the owner of the building will do from here.

"The firemen said if it had been three minutes later, they would have died," said Debra Clark, Rhett's grandmother. "Rhett saved everybody."

Rutledge said the Red Cross was called in to help the family.

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