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Community helps Thomasville fire victims; two homes destroyed

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Two homes were destroyed this morning by a fire that the Thomasville Fire Department says started because of a space heater.

The fire department deemed 116 and 118 National Highway "total losses.”

The fire started in 118 National Highway, which was occupied by Mickey LaPradd and his four children.

He says his 10-year-old son, Jacob, alerted family members to the fire and also alerted the two neighbors.

"At just 10 years old, he's saved eight lives," he said.

LaPradd says he is grateful that none of his family members were injured.

"I didn't lose anything that mattered, that was my children," he said. "They told me, 'Daddy, you lost everything that you worked for.' But they didn't realize they're what I worked for. I didn't lose anything today."

The Thomasville Fire Department says the fire started around 3:30 a.m. Friday and spread so quickly because both houses were wooden and very close together.

As the families were displaced, LaPradd says members in the community immediately stepped up to help. Tommy's Barbecue, just a few doors down, invited them all inside and gave them clothes and a warm breakfast.

Tommy's owner, Belinda Smith, says it was the least she could do.

"Anytime, if you have anything that another person could benefit from and you're not using it, give it to them. Make use of it," she said.

LaPradd also says a Thomasville police officer used his own money to buy clothes and shoes for himself and his kids.

"That means a whole lot," LaPradd said. "That means a whole lot to my children, too. Because my boy wants to be a police officer. Their job is to protect and serve. Today, they protected and served."