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Woman who died trying to save grandmother labeled as hero

Family and friends are remembering a Fremont woman as a hero for rushing back inside her burning house on Monday and trying to save her grandmother.

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FREMONT, N.C. — Family and friends Tuesday remembered a Fremont woman as a hero after she rushed back inside her burning house Monday and tried to save her grandmother.

Shannon Minshew and her 77-year-old, bed-ridden grandmother both lost their lives in the fire. Firefighters found Minshew's body in a bedroom, lying on top of her grandmother to protect her from the flames, they said. Mayola Waddell died later at a hospital.

Minshew’s voice can be heard on a Wayne County 911 call-center tape, asking for help.

911 Operator: "911 What is your emergency?"

Minshew: "I've got a fire. … I need some help please!"

911 Operator: "You're at 1884 Memorial Church Road?"

Minshew: "Yes sir, hurry up please!"

911 Operator: "They're on the way, OK? "

Minshew: "OK. Thank You."

Minshew, a mother of two, was always trying to help, friends and family said. Her 13-year-old son, Tyler Hall, said he is proud of what his mother did.

“She was just a good person, a good hearted person,” Tyler said. “She just tried to save her, you know... tried to be a hero.”

Friend and neighbor Lauren Vick had similar feelings.

“She's a hero. … She is a hero. I mean, she gave her life for someone else. That's the most selfless act anyone could ever do,” Vick said. “She wasn’t leaving that house without Mayola, no way.”

Minshew was a certified nurse who lived with her grandmother, friends said. Waddell had many health problems, and Minshew took care of her. Besides her son, she also has a 16-year-old daughter, they said.

Investigators said it appeared the fire was accidental and started in a clothes dryer, then spread very quickly through the older home.

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