Monday, March 12, 2001

Man thought to be hero charged in fire

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A man Cincinnati fire officials initially thought had rescued his girlfriend from a Feb. 15 fire in her Clifton Heights apartment was charged over the weekend with setting the blaze.

        Daniel James Campbell, 34, of the 500 block of Lowell Street, was charged with aggravated arson to a person and aggravated arson to property in the incident.

        Stacey Porter, 25, of West McMillan Avenue in Clifton Heights, suffered second- and third-degree burns over the top half of her body in a fire that was reported just before 10 p.m.

        Cincinnati police now say Mr. Campbell sprayed lighter fluid on the victim and ignited it, and the fire spread throughout the apartment.

        Mr. Campbell had told fire officials the night of the fire that he returned to his girlfriend's third-floor apartment above King Wok restaurant just before 10 p.m. and found it on fire and Ms. Porter overcome by smoke.

        He told fire officials he rescued his girlfriend by dragging her out to a third-floor landing, where firefighters found her and carried her to safety.

        The night of the fire, District Fire Chief Glenn Coleman said Ms. Porter would have almost certainly not survived if she hadn't been rescued from the burning apartment. Smoke and flames were shooting out the windows when firefighters arrived, he said.

        Mike Chen, a King Wok waiter, ran upstairs to the third-floor apartment when a passer-by reported smoke coming from its window. Mr. Chen kicked in the door, but thick smoke and flames shot out, preventing him from entering the apartment.

        The fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to the building, including water damage to the restaurant.


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