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Dahlonega man recovering from injuries suffered while helping family escape fire
Brandon Slater sits in a hospital bed days after suffering severe injuries in a Nov. 30 Dahlonega house fire. Slater helped his family escape the home. Courtesy Melissa Willis.

Brandy Slater woke up Nov. 30 to a strange smell in her Flanders Road home in Dahlonega, and woke her husband Brandon.

“When he woke up, he opened our bedroom door, and as soon as he did he said, ‘Oh my God, the house is on fire,” Brandy Slater said.

Brandon Slater ran down the hallway to get their three boys out.

“He went and busted out my youngest two kids’ bedroom window … and he was punching it and kicking it trying to bust it open,” Brandy Slater said. “I’m guessing that’s how he hurt his arm and his hand so bad.”

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Brandon and Brandy Slater Provided by Melissa Willis

The two youngest boys ran to a neighbor for help, and the family was then able to get Brandy Slater and their 2-year-old daughter out through the windows.

“I was determined to get out of that window because I couldn’t go back through the living room because the smoke was so bad,” Brandy Slater said, adding the mobile home was destroyed.

Brandon Slater suffered severe burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries while trying to help his family get out of the house and has been in the burn unit at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

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Brandon and Brandy Slater and their four children awoke Nov. 30, 2020 and scrambled to escape their burning Dahlonega home. Brandon Slater was injured as he helped his wife and children escape. (Courtesy Melissa Wilis)

“Brandon will be unable to work during his recovery and no money will be coming in,” Brandon’s mother Lynn Pavlik, who lives in Clermont in North Hall, wrote on a Gofundme account for the family. “In the coming days, weeks and months as they face the reality of losing their home of 10 years and all their possessions, I’m asking everyone to pray that God gives them strength and direction.”

Brandy Slater said the injuries made it hard for her husband to move his fingers. Doctors performed a skin graft and surgery.

Though they have not fully determined the cause of the fire, Brandy Slater said they believe it was from a space heater.

Brandy Slater said her husband has been mostly in good spirits over the past couple of days as they have video-called so he can see the children.

As of 6:20 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, a Gofundme account for the family had raised $24,242.

“It really touches me and lets me know that there are people out there that really do care. … It still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it,” Brandy Slater said.

Saying they own the land their mobile home was on, Brandy Slater said they hope the money can go toward a new home and stay in that area. 

Lumpkin County Emergency Services did not return requests for comment on Wednesday and Thursday.