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WACO, Texas -- At 4:25 a.m. Sunday, Skinny's clerk Shawn Huettle was outside on a smoke break. Nothing extraordinary.
Five minutes later he became a hero. A friend en route to work entered the Waco convenience store and told him the house across the street was on fire.
"I called 9-1-1, grabbed my keys and locked up the store," Huettle told the Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald.
Huettle said he and three others crossed the street to the two-story house to wake the residents. But by then, glowing red flames were shooting out of the middle window in the attic. The group went around back and woke the downstairs residents, including several children, before heading upstairs. They managed to rouse seven residents and get them out before firefighters arrived.
Firefighters rescued the last two residents and a dog, the report said. No one was injured in the blaze, he said, although the last two people rescued were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. The fire gutted the kitchen and a bedroom in the front upstairs apartment. The living room and another bedroom sustained heat and smoke damage.
Huettle, who was cited by firefighters for his actions, was modest about his role, saying all he did was "help wake people and then take coffee to the firefighters," the report said.
"Although I did leave a message for my boss after I locked up the store," Huettle said. "I know he watches the [store's security] tapes, so I told him I'd be locking up while we were over there and there wouldn't be anyone in the store."
Abilene, Texas-based Skinny's Inc. operates 90 convenience stores throughout Texas.