Price Hill man critically injured in fire

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An apartment fire sent an elderly Price Hill man to UC burn unit Wednesday night with life-threatening injuries.

Jerry Friend is listed in critical condition after his apartment caught fire on Pedretti Avenue around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. He is fighting to stay alive.

On the sunny outside, you'd hardly know there was a fire in the basement apartment at Friend's house on Pedretti Avenue.

"There was heavy black smoke coming out of the apartment when they arrived," said Captain Dan Rottmueller with the Cincinnati Fire Investigation Unit.

Firefighters were taping-off the scene when we got there, while investigators collected evidence inside.

"There's a fire that was in an apartment there, apartment number 4," Rottmueller said.

Friend's apartment sustained heavy smoke damage. There are four units in the apartment building where he lives, but no one else was hurt or displaced from their homes.

"It was all contained to the one apartment," Rottmueller said. "Right now the cause is listed as undetermined."

But neighbors at the scene told FOX19 Jerry Friend may have fallen asleep in a chair while he was smoking.

We're told he has life-threatening injuries to his chest, face and airway.

Captain Rottmueller said Friend was unconscious when firefighters found him.

"The occupant was taken to the hospital by the first arriving fire company, he's in the burn unit up at UC," Rottmueller said.

Fire investigators say they still need to speak with Friend before they can confirm what they suspect caused the fire.

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