Monday, October 01, 2001

Rescuers snatch 4 children from smoke-filled apartment

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — Four children left home alone were rescued from a smoke-filled apartment early Sunday by three police officers and two firefighters.

        “Without a doubt, if these five brave men had not acted quickly and without regard for their safety, these four young children would not be with us today,” Norwood Fire Lt. Bruce Bischer said.

        A baby-sitter who had left the children alone while he went out to eat was charged with child endangerment, police said.

        When police officers arrived at the building in the 1800 block of Maple Avenue just after 1 a.m. the apartment was engulfed in smoke, police said.

        Officer Tim Buchanan kicked in the door, allowing Officers Chuck Bell and Matt Boettcher to enter to find the children, ages 18 months to 4 years.

        “We could hear the kids in the back room crying,” Officer Buchanan said. “The smoke was real thick. You couldn't see the wall on the other side of the room.”

        Some of the smoke was coming from a couch on fire in the living room, he said.

        It took three attempts braving the smoke before the officers were able to locate the children in back bedrooms. Officers Bell and Boettcher found two of them and carried them to safety. Fire Lt. Tony Humble and Firefighter Rich Glisson rescued the other two.

        The children were treated for smoke inhalation at Children's Hospital Medical Center and released, officials said.

        The children's mother had left them in the care of Richard Timerding, 25, of Crown Avenue in Norwood.

        Mr. Timerding left the apartment about midnight to get something to eat and had not returned when the fire started, police said. There were candles burning in the apartment when Mr. Timerding left, police said.

        Officer Buchanan said there was no hesitation on the part of the rescuers about entering the smoke-filled apartment once they knew children were inside.

        “I don't think there was any decision to make but to go in there and get them.”


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