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Child burned in overnight house fire
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Gainesville firefighters rescued a boy with cerebral palsy from his buring Banks Street home early Saturday morning. He is hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta with burns and smoke inhalation, while the family lost most of their possessions. - photo by NAT GURLEY

One child was burned and a family displaced when fire destroyed a home at the 700 block of Banks Street in Gainesville early Saturday morning.

Gainesville Police Department spokesman Kevin Holbrook said the call came in a little after 1 a.m. Saturday. Units responding found heavy fire and smoke showing from the 1,500-square-foot single-family home, according to a news release from fire department paramedic Capt. Keith Smith.

“It happened so fast,” said Anthony Lopez, one of the home’s occupants. 

“Everything’s gone in there.”

Six adults and three children were in the home at the time, Lopez said. Several occupants made it out of the building suffering only from smoke inhalation.

However, Gainesville Police had to go inside to rescue a young child. The 7-year-old boy was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta suffering from second-degree burns to his face and smoke inhalation.

Holbrook identified the rescuers as Cpl. Drew Reed and Officer Steven Folker. When they reached the scene, the family informed them the child was still in the house. They removed a window air-conditioning unit in order to get to him.

According to the family, the boy has cerebral palsy and would have been unable to escape on his own.

“He sleeps hard, too,” said Danny Guerrero, the child’s uncle. “So I know he had to be asleep.”

Guerrero said he lives at the home, but was spending the night with his wife at her house. When he heard about the fire, he immediately raced over.

“I said it could have been worse,” he added. “I could have came out ... I would have had no family today.”

The family did not know when the child would be released from the hospital, but Guerrero said he was alert and conscious.

Also, one adult was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Gainesville Fire Marshal Chad Payne said the fire started in the area of a space heater in a bedroom.

The Red Cross was called to assist the family.

Payne said the residence is a total loss with damage estimated at about $60,000. There were no working smoke detectors in the house, he said.

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