PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A Panama City Beach family is picking up the pieces of their lives and starting over, for the third time in the past five years.
Beth Dyer and her family returned to their home on Dogwood Street for the first time Friday morning after the apartment burned down Thursday evening.
Everything they own and cherish was gone, leaving only memories.
“Melanie took her first steps here, right there in the hallway,” Dyer said. “She was born here. I survived COVID here.”
Dyer has two young children.
Their toys are burnt to crisps, including one’s made by their grandfather.
“I remember him saying, ‘what do you buy a baby for Christmas?’ And I showed him that, and he made it,” Dyer said.
This isn’t the first time the family has started over.
Dyer said a shorted circuit sparked the blaze, ruining everything they worked so hard to build, for a third time.
“We had already lost everything in Michael and then I had caught COVID and it bumped us down from two-income families to one, and now this,” Dyer said.
Despite losing everything, Dyer still has her family and she knows there’s only one reason why.
Her four-year-old son Max.
Max’s speech is delayed and he can’t yet talk, but he was able to warn the family who were all hanging out in the bedroom of the fire growing in the living room.
“He came back, he, of course, was like ‘Sassy, Sassy’ and his speech delayed so nobody understood what he was saying, but he grabbed Sassy by the hand and pulled her in there so he knew something was wrong,” Dyer said.
Dyer said people often underestimate max, but on Thursday the bubbly four-year-old remembered what he had been taught on a field trip earlier this school year.
“They had gone on a field trip to the fire department just a few months back at preschool and so he knew,” Dyer said.
Not only did Max save his family, he likely saved other people’s lives and their homes in the duplex.
“It makes me proud that he’s our hero. We still could have been in that apartment,” Dyer said.
As the Dyers try to rebuild their lives, they’ll do so knowing they can count on each and every member of their family.
If you would like to help the family rebuild, you can donate to their GoFundMe page.