Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Homeless but unhurt, 75-year-old escapes fire

Food left on stove causes $50,000 blaze in Covington

By Joe Wessels
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Food left on the stove sparked a blaze Tuesday, leaving a 75-year-old woman homeless, fire officials said.

        Firefighters were called to 423 Lehmer St. about 3 p.m. and found the house in flames.

        Louise Ludwig was standing outside, frantic as neighbors rushed to her aid. Ken Warner, who lives next door, heard her and called 911.

[photo] Al Ludwig helps his mother, Louise, from her damaged home at 423 Lehmer St. in Covington.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        “I heard her ranting and raving,” Mr. Warner, 38, said. “I'm surprised she got out, with all that smoke.”

        The woman was disoriented, he said, and wanted to go back in; but instead he had her sit on his front porch. She was unhurt, left with only soot on her face.

        Fire officials estimated damage at $50,000. The house had several working smoke detectors that were melted in the fire, but were still blasting.

        “As inexpensive as they are, they're pretty durable,” said Covington Fire Capt. David Reeves.

        Ms. Ludwig's son, Al Ludwig, said at the scene that his mother has insurance, and she would stay with him until other housing could be found. He said he planned to take her to the hospital “just to make sure she's OK.”

        Barefoot and without a shirt, neighbor Ken Kannady, 39, ran down the street in the cold to help. He and a Covington police officer tried to use a garden hose to extinguish the flames.

        “We couldn't get the water on and the smoke already poured out the back door,” he said. “It was like a monster.”

        Mr. Warner said the heat was so intense that part of his house siding melted.

        Ms. Ludwig “came out of the heat of that,” he said, pointing to his damaged house. “I'm glad she's all right.”


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