Fire leaves man in critical condition

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2008

An Ironton man is in critical condition today after being rescued from his burning home Thursday morning.

Firefighters were called to the home of Charles Sands, 1210 N. Third Street at 8:15 a.m.

Firefighters located Sands in the kitchen. He was treated at the scene by South East Ohio Emergency Medical Services personnel and by nurses who lived in their neighborhood and offered their assistance.

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He was taken by ambulance to the Ironton Hills Shopping Center where he was transferred to a helicopter and taken to Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

State and local authorities said the fire appears to be accidental but appears to be electrical in nature and may have started in the living room.

“We do not have evidence to indicate this was an intentionally set fire,” said Ken Crawford, assistant chief of the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau. “While this does not appear to be a criminal act, the case will remain open in the event investigators receive new information.”

Shane Cartmill, spokesman for the fire marshal’s office, said there was one smoke detector in the house but it was in the basement.

“It was not where it was going to help someone,” Cartmill said. “Especially in a large house, you need one on every floor. A smoke detector in the basement could not have alerted him to this fire.”

Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said firefighters freed two dogs and a cat from Sands’ basement. One dog was recovered from the fire, but another dog and two cats died.

Students at the West Ironton building were evacuated for a short time as a safety precaution, Superintendent Dean Nance said. They were taken to Faith United Church of the Nazarene but later returned to the school.

Runyon praised the cooperative effort among several agencies and individuals who aided in the effort. The fire marshal’s office aided with the investigation, SEOEMS and the nurses who lived in the neighborhood provided medical aid, school officials worked quickly, he said, to keep students at West Ironton safe and Upper Township firefighters established the landing zone for helicopter.

“A lot of people came together to get everything moving quickly,” Runyon said.