9-year-old credited with helping family escape house fire

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

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LENOIR, N.C. - A 9-year-old boy helped a Caldwell County family escape a burning home overnight after a quick moving fire caused thousands of dollars of damage.

The parents, along with their two children and two of their friends were all in the house on Calico Road in Lenoir when the fire started around 9:30 p.m. Monday.

"There was a loud pop," said Tony Shoemaker, the homeowner.

When he walked out the front door he could see the fire quickly spreading in the garage. He said he tried to knock down the flames and yelled for someone to call 911, but the fire was too much.

Shoemaker said his 9-year-old son and teenage daughter were able to get safely out thanks to fire safety training the fourth-grader received at his elementary school and Boy Scouts. Shoemaker said his family had gone over this exact scenario on how to safely exit the home if it ever caught fire.

"It just put that in the back of our heads. I don't know if you'll ever have to use it but it meant a lot," he said.

Fire investigators think the fire was accidental and started from a discarded cigarette. The damage to the home is estimated at $85,000.