Mills Fire - Father and Son Suffer Burns in House Fire

TARKINGTON, March 9, 2009 - Shortly before 3:00PM on Sunday afternoon, City of Cleveland EMS and Tarkington First Responders were dispatched to a report of two burn victims on CR2236. Almost immediately, a second tone went out for Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department for a structure fire at the same location.

Tarkington firefighters responding in Engine 51 could see the fire from SH105, over a half-mile away, as they responded. They arrived to find the house heavily-involved and several exposures, including a propane tank, two four-wheelers, and four pickup-trucks, threatened.

The heat from the fire had begun to blister the paint on the propane tank and set the closest vehicle on fire, while melting the plastic mirrors and headlights of the others. Crews immediately began to call for backup from other local departments, including Cleveland, North Liberty County, Plum Grove, Cypress Lakes, and Splendora for both water supply and manpower.

Due to firefighter’s quick action, the propane tank didn’t explode and firefighters were able to stop the spread of the fire, saving many items in the downstairs bedroom. Only one of the vehicles sustained major fire damage.

The burn victims included a 24-year old father and his 1-year old son. The child’s burns were so severe that he was flown by PHI SkyMed to Louisiana State University Medical Center -- Regional Burn Center, while the father was transported to Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. The mother also suffered minor burns to her hands as she tried to rescue her husband and son.

The fire was believed to have started in or near the garage, where, according to family members, the father had been working on one of the four-wheelers. Initial reports point to gasoline vapors from the four-wheeler being ignited by the hot water heater. Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson and investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office will be conducting a full investigation.

Photos courtesy of Dalton Gregory


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