Family loses everything due to apartment fire

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Several locals are now displaced after an apartment quadplex went up in flames in Panama City Beach on Thursday evening.

The first-floor apartment, where the fire is believed to have originated has been deemed a total loss.

The family that resided there for four years said they have nothing but what was in their car and what they could grab as they were running out.

“It was just an ordinary afternoon. We were hanging in my bedroom I just got home from work he was on his way to work the kids were playing, just a normal day,” Beth Dyer said.

That normal day took a quick turn when Beth’s four-year-old son Max noticed something unusual in the living room.

“He noticed that there was a fire in the corner, and he got his sassy, which is my niece, and was not taking no for an answer. He was persistent about sassy coming to look and he knew we needed to get out, so he knew he needed to tell somebody,” Dyer said.

Max’s mom said that he knew what to do because of a recent field trip to the fire station.

“I completely owe it to them for telling him what to do so and he listened,” Dyer said.

Thanks to Max’s quick thinking, the family got out. They were able to not only dial 911 but help get the other residents out of the building as well.

The Panama City Beach Fire Department reports they arrived on the scene around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze in 15 minutes. But even with the quick response, the family has been left with little to nothing.

“We are just trying to make it day by day. That is all you can do at this point is just hang on to each other and keep moving forward,” Dyer said.

But there was a glimmer of hope on Friday, as the family discovered a box of stuffed animals that had been untouched by the flames.

“Something that brings [Max] him joy a little bit and some of his cars. He is all about cars, so the kid probably had about one thousand hot wheel cars and probably got a new one every time we went to Walmart,” Dyer said.

While there have been a few items the family salvaged from the ashes, they are still in need of help from the community to get back up on their feet.

“Food, clothes, food for the baby, formula, diapers, wipes. Right now, we are just staying from one friend to another. Funds for a hotel room something to give everyone a break and a real bed to sleep in,” Dyer said.

To donate to their GoFundMe click here.

Officials have not released the official cause of the fire but believe it to be accidental.