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Community grieves for boy killed in Granite Shoals fire; donations being accepted

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

GRANITE SHOALS — Neighbors and community members are coping with a tragic July 10 house fire that killed an 8-year-old boy and injured his grandmother.

“It’s going to take a while, a long time, to heal,” said neighbor Robert Lemaster, who helped pull the grandmother to safety. “Through time, hopefully, the family can cope with what has happened.”

Granite Shoals Police Captain Gary Boshears said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities have charged a 12-year-old boy with arson causing bodily injury/death in relation to the blaze.

READ MORE about the fire or WATCH VIDEO

Lemaster, like many neighbors the morning of the fire, said he heard an explosion come from the home in the 1300 block of Kings Valley Drive.

The man initially thought the explosion came from his shop.

“As I was over there, I heard (the grandmother) in distress calling for help. I jumped the fences and ran in and did what anyone would do,” Lemaster said.

Lemaster grabbed the woman and took her to the rear of the lot when she said the boys and dogs were inside.

“I tried to run back up and run in, but I couldn’t get back in because it was too engulfed,” he said. “So I come back out, and I run around to the front. I looked, the front of the house was pretty much (blocked). I looked for another entrance, and there just wasn’t any.”

Lemaster took the woman out to the road for safety until paramedics and fire crews arrived.

“It’s really heart-wrenching that I couldn’t get in and get the child,” Lemaster said.

However, Lemaster has received praise from Granite Shoals Police Chief J.P. Wilson and others for his quick actions.

“The city is deeply grateful to a true hero,” Wilson said.

An account has been established at Anthem Bank & Trust to collect donations for the affected family.

The bank is accepting donations by mail or in person at 8110 RR 1431 West in Granite Shoals. Checks should be made to “Patty Watkins FBO the Bobby Alexander Family.”

jared@thepicayune.com