Clarkesville family grieves hero dog following fire

The fire destroyed the young Clarkesville family's entire home, but thanks to their dog who alerted them to the fire, both parents and their infant escaped. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

A fire broke out in Clarkesville Monday morning, engulfing a mobile home in flames and leaving a couple and their baby without a home, car, cell phones or daily essentials. While the family made it out safe, their beloved dog who saved them from the fire did not.

A four-legged hero

Madea, the family dog, woke up and alerted her family to the fire. They were able to get out safely with their infant, but Madea wasn’t able to escape. (Photo courtesy of Meggan Addis)

When the fire broke out, family dog Madea woke up her sleeping family. By the time parents Rusty Wade and Alexis Young awoke, the living room and kitchen were already engulfed in flames. While Wade, Young and their 3-month old son Wyatt were able to safely get out, (Young sustaining non-life-threatening burn injuries) Madea did not.

“If it wasn’t for her, we probably wouldn’t have woken up,” Young tells Now Habersham.

Madea was four years old when she died Monday. Young says she was very protective of her people and their new baby; she’s remembered as a 95-pound lapdog who shared a special bond with Wade.

Of everything they lost in the fire, including sentimental items from their son’s birth, their home that had belonged to Wade’s grandfather and their cash, the couple agreed that losing Madea was the hardest thing. They buried Madea at the site of the fire after they found her.

MORE: Parents escape burning home with infant after dog alerts them to fire

Community support

Wade and Young’s sister-in-law, Meggan Addis, has been working with concerned community members to get donations to her brother-in-law and sister-in-law. During her time at work today at the Cornelia Lowe’s, she received several donations for the family.

Right now, Wade and Young say their biggest needs are a place to call home and a vehicle. They lost all their legal documents in the fire, and are currently staying with family.

The fire engulfed not only the family’s mobile home but their car as well. (Hadley Cottingham/Now Habersham)

Community members who have leads on housing, vehicles, or who would like to donate baby supplies, food, gift cards, hygiene products or clothes should contact Addis at (706) 968-3949. They are also welcome to drop off items with Addis at Lowe’s in Cornelia where she works.

A GoFundMe has also been set up to help the family recover from the devastating loss of their home.

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