Family thanks neighbors who called 911, tried to rescue 12-year-old boy from burning home

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Bartow County firefighters say one of their own was injured while rescuing a 12-year-old boy from a house fire Thursday night.

Fire crews were called out to the home along Gilreath Road in Cartersville just before 6 p.m. They say the 12-year-old boy, identified as Keystin Neal, was home by himself at the time while his mother and two sisters were at a nearby park.

Neighbors called 911 while another tried to bust down the door of the home to see if anyone was inside.


Firefighters found the home filled with heavy smoke and flames when they arrived. While some began to put water on the flames, other firefighters went through the back bedroom window to rescue Neal.

Once firefighters got him out of the house, he was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital. His mother told Channel 2 Action News that her son, who is a 6th grader at Cass Middle School, is doing much better today.

“I remember him telling me, ‘Mama, I was in the back bedroom,’ which is our room, and he was saying that he was saying, ‘Mama, Mama,’ and when he tried to open the door he said the smoke hit him and that’s when he collapsed,” Chastity Neal said.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Channel 2 Action News was there Friday when Keystin Neal’s mother and father got a chance to thank and hug the neighbors who tried to save their son.

“I definitely want to thank Bobby, the guy that first came over here. I call him a first responder, too,” Chastity Neal said. “If it wasn’t for him, we’d be having a different kind of interview.”

Bobby said as soon as he saw the flames, he knew what he had to do.

“I said, ‘Baby something’s going on over here. I see flames from this house and don’t see no car and I know they have three kids.’ My first response is run and call 911,” he said.

He told Chastity Neal that if he’d known the boy was inside, he would have risked his own life to get him out.

A Bartow County firefighter whose breathing apparatus became dislodged during the rescue was taken to a nearby hospital. He was released Friday.

“I am extremely proud of the actions of our firefighters and the great teamwork between agencies that resulted in the rescue of this victim. Without their quick actions, the outcome of this incident would have been much different,” Fire Chief Dwayne Jamison said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed to be accidental.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]