Man escapes burning home; girlfriend, 2 kids die

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Smashy

    Smashy

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    Feb 13, 2010 (2:34p CST)
    By RICK CALLAHAN (Associated Press Writer)

    INDIANAPOLIS - A man trying to find a way out his burning home got trapped in its bathroom Saturday and could only listen in horror to the screams of two of his children, who died in the fire along with his girlfriend, friends and authorities said. The man escaped by breaking a window and jumping out.

    Daniel Fox, 37, told fire investigators he ran into the first-floor bathroom of the two-story rental house, looking for a way out for himself and the three others after the blaze broke out around 6 a.m. But the door, which had no doorknob, closed behind him and he couldn't open it.

    Fox's children apparently were overcome by smoke as they pounded on the door, yelling for their father during the chaos of the fire, which Fox escaped by smashing out a small bathroom window and jumping out, said Capt. Rita Reith of the Indianapolis Fire Department.

    Family friend David Wethington said Fox, bleeding from cuts from the broken glass, tried to re-enter the burning home on Indianapolis' east side but was driven back by dense smoke and flames shooting from its windows.

    He said Fox is anguished that he couldn't save his children and girlfriend.

    "They were screaming, saying, "Help, help, help!" Wethington said. "He heard them hollering and he tried to get in there. He's dying inside because he couldn't get to them in time. It's killing him that he couldn't save his own kids."

    Fox's girlfriend, Cheryl Strong, 32, and his 16-year-old son, Michael Fox, died at the scene, while his 8-year-old daughter, Kelsey Fox, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

    Wethington said Fox's children lived with Fox's mother and usually visited their father on weekends. Fox also has a teenager daughter, who did not make the trip this weekend.

    The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Reith said Fox told investigators he believes an electric space heater started the blaze.

    In the fire's aftermath, passers-by stopped to look at the gutted home, which was surrounded by scorched shingles, pieces of wood and children's books, the heavy snowfall around the home blackened with soot and firefighters' footprints.

    A large plush Scooby-Doo doll wearing a wizard's cape sat on the deck that Fox jumped onto from the bathroom window, partially covered with fire debris.

    The home's owner and next-door neighbor, 78-year-old Donald LaRue, said Fox and Strong had moved into the home about 6 months ago and were a friendly, quiet couple.

    He said neighbors pounded on his door, yelling that the property next door was on fire, and he helped them break out the window in the home's back door, but the smoke was too dense to enter and flames were shooting out of the windows.

    "It's a horrible thing," LaRue said, his voice choking with emotion.

    Reith said LaRue told fire investigators he had provided the home with working smoke detectors but that his tenants often took the batteries out for other uses. She said it wasn't clear if the home had functioning smoke detectors.

    Jessica Johnson, who lives two houses from the gutted house with her husband and their two young children, said she was shaken by the tragedy, although she did not know the home's residents.

    She and her husband ran outside in 15-degree weather when they heard a commotion and saw the home engulfed in flames, later watching as a body was removed from the house.

    "I can't even imagine what it must be like for him, to know that there was nothing he could do," Johnson said of Fox.


    http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/...DRGPF80@news.ap.org&client=landingpage&qid=0#
     
  2. G30SF/F-250

    G30SF/F-250 Pinky Out Platinum Member

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    I couldnt finish reading that. Very sad.
     

  3. 1-2man

    1-2man Part Time

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    Wow, he pulled 'the Costanza.'
     
  4. HandyMan Hugh

    HandyMan Hugh NRA Life Member

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    What a tragedy. This will probably haunt this poor man for the rest of his life! May God rest the souls of the deceased, and grant this man some peace.
     
  5. MDLibertarian

    MDLibertarian NRA Life Member

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    How the Hell could he not kick in a bathroom door to get to his kids who were on the other side?! Just because the door didn't have a handle shouldn't have kept him from breaching it somehow unless it was one seriously heavy duty door, which is highly unlikely. It seems panic may have gotten the best of him and his family's death will haunt him for the rest of his life.
     
  6. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    So how did people get out of the bathroom on a day to day basis? Just don't close the bathroom door ever??

    I can fathom how if the door swings inward and has no knob that someone from the inside would have problems getting the door open. But why couldn't two kids, one 16 and the other 8 push it open from the outside?

    I am not accusing this guy of anything but the explanations given in the story seem extremely odd.
     
  7. maynardwix

    maynardwix Notre Dame Fan!

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    I couldn't imagine being in the same situation, but I wouldn't be able to hear my family crying for help, that would have to haunt you forever.
     
  8. maynardwix

    maynardwix Notre Dame Fan!

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    This is exactly what I was thinking, I know there is no interior door in my home that I could not kick/bust open, specially in a high stress situation like that with your family on the other side.
     
  9. Cali-Glock

    Cali-Glock Mountain Man

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    This sounds way to strange on too many levels.
     
  10. Swiper

    Swiper

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    Yes, the scenario we get appears to be quite odd. I'm inclined to apply Occam's Razor to this case.
     
  11. Rashid.4v

    Rashid.4v

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    I would have to be superman and that door kryptonite for me to need a door knob to open it. I think panic/hysteria could be right. I'd like to think that I would end up dead trying to save my children's life before self preservation.

    He'll take the torment of this tragedy to the grave.

    I feel really bad for him if this is the truth.
     
  12. Rashid.4v

    Rashid.4v

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    Great, now I gotta look up -Occam's Razor. :upeyes:
     
  13. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    There isn't an interior door made that would keep me from getting to my screaming kids on the other side.

    And if there was, then they would just find my charred corpse in the bathroom where I died trying to break thru the door or wall.
     
  14. Smashy

    Smashy

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    I was wondering that. Maybe there was a knob, but he was in the process of replacing it. Just the knob was off, but the latch was still in place, so it would latch shut. But that still wouldn't keep me from kicking it open.

    Who knows; I'm just speculating...
     
  15. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

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    I'll just say that I would have died trying....

    May the girlfriend, and the children rest in peace, and for the man I hope that he also finds some peace as well, as I doubt he'll be able to live with himself for much longer.
     
  16. Rashid.4v

    Rashid.4v

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    Yup!
    And I too declare occam's razor.
     
  17. Jackalo626

    Jackalo626

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    I would come through an interior door with my body quicker than I could open it with my hands if a fire and family was involved. I am not saying anything about the guy at all but I would have been through it.
     
  18. RioKid

    RioKid

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    I think there will be another chapter to this story after further investigation. Too many things just don't make sense.:dunno:
     
  19. Willard

    Willard Who, me?

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    Occum's Razor simply states that the simplest explanation is the most likely explanation. If you see hoof prints on the ground, they were most likely caused by horses, rather than zebras.
     
  20. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

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    I'm not sure if something is just "lost" in this news article, or what, but as written I'm right there with you guys. It doesn't add up. If there's no doorknob, how did they use it day to day? And -- Jesus -- I can't imagine not being able to do SOMEthing to break the crap out of your average flimsy interior bathroom door, if my own two kids were screaming and crying and dying and begging for my help just on the other side of it.

    If it's all legit and the guy really did his best to try and save his gal and his kids, my heart breaks for him. It really does. I don't know if I could go on, after an experience like that, if things went down the way the article says.

    If it is something fishy, though, and he had something to do with the fire that he was coincidentally the only survivor of...God have mercy on him, 'cause I'm fresh out.


    It's what Dragoon used to shave with, back in the day. :supergrin: