Neighbor tries desperately to save lives of woman, boy killed in Douglas County fire

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Neighbor, Willie Mason made a desperate attempt to save an adult and child from burning home. Video by John Spink/AJC

A neighbor tried desperately to rescue two people from a burning Douglas County home. But the fire was too intense, and killed a woman and a 10-year-old boy.

Willie Mason told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution someone was banging on his door late Monday, and he opened it to find a neighbor telling him there was a fire. Mason’s wife called 911, and he quickly ran to help.

Mason said he first tried to get in through the front door, but the heat was too intense.

“I ran around to the back, got my flashlight, came back and I kicked the back door open,” Mason said.

 

Inside, Mason tried to crawl to reach those trapped inside, but was forced out due to the smoke. He tried again a second time.

“I was willing to give up my life for their lives,” Mason said.

The fire broke out at a home on Boulder Park Drive in Lithia Springs, according to Rick Martin, communications director for the county. Two people were pulled from the home, but later died at the hospital, Martin said.

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Douglas County fire investigator S. Pate was on the scene Tuesday morning following a house fire that killed a 10-year-old boy and the child’s adult cousin. The cause of the fire has not been determined. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Douglas County fire investigator S. Pate was on the scene Tuesday morning following a house fire that killed a 10-year-old boy and the child’s adult cousin. The cause of the fire has not been determined. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Caption
Douglas County fire investigator S. Pate was on the scene Tuesday morning following a house fire that killed a 10-year-old boy and the child’s adult cousin. The cause of the fire has not been determined. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

The victims were identified late Tuesday morning as 28-year-old Stacia Williams and Jermaude Earl, Martin said.

Mason said the boy loved to play basketball. He would often ask to use the basketball hoop behind his home, but Mason repeatedly told him he was always welcome to play and didn’t need to ask.

Mason said he knew he could’ve lost his own life in the fire, but felt like he had to try. As a 9-year-old boy in 1975, Mason’s younger sister and brother perished in a fire, he said.

“I felt that I should save their lives because I didn’t get the chance to save my sister’s and brother’s lives,” he said.

Two firefighters were injured battling the blaze, Martin said. Both were treated and released from a local hospital.

Investigators believe the fire started in the basement of the home, which was destroyed. The exact cause has not been determined. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the State Fire Marshal’s Office were assisting with the investigation.

The two deaths bring the total to 41 Georgians killed in fires this year, according to the state fire commissioner’s office.