Residents at 'The Mountain' in Canton narrowly escape fire: 'My - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Residents at 'The Mountain' in Canton narrowly escape fire: 'My dog saved me'

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CANTON, TX (KLTV) -

A historic part of East Texas is gone after a fire burned at least twenty buildings in a Canton shopping center.

The fire started at around 4 o'clock this morning in the 500 block of East Dallas street in Canton. That's part of The Mountain at the Old Mill Marketplace.

The Mountain was a historical part of the First Monday Trade Days in Canton.

Canton fire fighters are calling this the biggest fire the city has ever seen.

On the outside The Mountain looks all the same, but the inside tells you a completely different story.

First responders say the fire was called in by a police officer who was on route near the area when he saw a flash.

Many residents, including Madie King, were sound asleep during the fire. She thanks her dog for saving her life.

"He was barking like crazy and wouldn't shut up and I thought he had to go to the bathroom," said King. "I grabbed a pair of shoes, and a sweater, and headed outside. Then I heard people saying, 'Get out! There's a fire on the mountain!"

King calls her dog a hero.

"If I had waited for the firemen to wake me up, I would have had to walk through fire to get out," said King.

Firefighters were also running through the streets knocking on doors like Terry Owens, who has lived at The Mountain for 4 years.

"It was kind of shocking way to wake up," said Owens. "They told me I had to evacuate immediately, and I didn't have any time to grab anything. I just grabbed what I'm wearing now."

By the time he evacuated, he says The Mountain looked like a giant bonfire.

"The crown of the tree line was all flames. It was pretty high," said Owens.

Canton Fire Chief Bud Sanford was first to respond to the fire and immediately woke up residents.

"You didn't have to tell some of them to run. Their response was get me out of here," said Sanford.

He says the flames were easily 70 feet high.

"It was getting hot enough that the flame was not actually touching those buildings, but they were spontaneously igniting," said Sanford

Although it's a devastating loss for The Mountain, with no injuries, Sanford says it could have been much worse.

Firefighters will remain at the scene Saturday to insure there are no more hot spots.

They also say it may be another 24 hours before residents can return home as they continue their investigation.

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