Thursday, October 19, 2000

Boy missing in gas explosion

Fire destroys home, man injured

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Hartwell man, Rick Caudill, 52, was badly burned in a two-alarm fire that destroyed his home early Thursday.

        His grandson, Matthew, 11, was reported missing from the house and Cincinnati firefighters were searching the scene after containing the fire.

        Witnesses said the fire may have been started by a gas explosion.

        “I saw the whole thing. It was lit up like ... I've never seen nothin' like that in my life,” said Linda Tucker, a neighbor. Flames and smoke from the fire were visible from several nearby streets.

        The fire at the house in the 8300 block of Curzon Avenue broke out just after midnight. The house, a two-story frame, was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The house burned to the ground and collapsed into itself.

        The fire victim suffered third degree burns over the lower half of his body and was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Medical Center. His identity and condition were not immediately available.

        Firefighters called Cinergy crews to the scene because of downed wires, and Cincinnati homicide detectives were also called out.

        A woman at the scene was treated by a life squad when she experienced difficulty breathing.

        Mose DiMasi, assistant fire chief, said Mr. Caudill was in serious condition. He said it was impossible to attempt a rescue inside the house because of the raging flames and because the house collapsed.


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