6-year-old boy alerts family to fire at Buford's Dam Store - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

6-year-old boy alerts family to fire at Buford's Dam Store

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A 6-year-old is being credited with alerting his family of a fire inside The Dam Store in Buford early Wednesday. A 6-year-old is being credited with alerting his family of a fire inside The Dam Store in Buford early Wednesday.
BUFORD, Ga -

A 6-year-old boy is being called a hero after authorities say he warned his family about a dangerous fire early Wednesday morning.  Noel and Tony Clark were leasing and living in The Dam Store, a popular business on the Gwinnett County side of Lake Lanier.  Thanks to their son, their family was able to make it out of the burning building safely.

It was a heartbreaking sight as the well-known, historic business on Buford Dam Road went up in flames early Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to a report of a business fire in the 1200 block of Buford Dam Road, near Suwanee Dam Road. The caller reported seeing flames showing from The Dam Store, a local bait shop. They also said a person might be trapped inside.

Firefighters arrived to see the two-story portion of the building engulfed in flames.  A boat located near the building was also burning, according to Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge. 

Firefighters were soon met by the family members, who own the business and live in the residential part of the building. They told firefighters no one else was inside. In all, there were six family members -- two adults and four children. The children are ages 3 to 13.

The family said the 6-year-old son smelled smoke and had alerted everyone to the fire. They reported that the smoke alarms were sounding as they escaped.  None of them were injured.

"Firefighters mounted an aggressive, defensive attack on the fire due to the magnitude and intensity of the flames on arrival," said Rutledge.  "Crews flowed water from multiple hose lines, master streams and an aerial ladder device to knock down the bulk of the fire before making entry inside the building."

The fire captain said the roof collapse over the two-story portion kept firefighters from moving deep into the burned side of the building.

Fire crews worked fast and managed to keep the fire from spreading into the retail side of the building.  The store may have sustained some degree of residual damage, but no actual fire damage.

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

Fire crews are still determining what sparked the fire. It remains under investigation.  An investigator from the ATF was at the scene to assist Gwinnett Fire Investigators. 

According to the business operators, The Dam Store is an icon in the Buford area and has been around for more than 60 years.  It's a well-known landmark and commonly visited by people going to Lake Lanier.

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