Man saves three victims in Covedale house fire

Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A man rescued three people from a burning duplex early Friday morning before firefighters arrived to the scene.

A fire was reported at a four family home in the 4800 block of Prosperity Place in Covedale around 7:30 a.m.

Witnesses say they heard a loud boom as a propane tank on the second floor balcony of the building suddenly exploded.

Moments later Charles McDonald, a passerby on his way to work, saw the flames shooting out of the building. He then ran to a neighbor's house to grab a ladder. 

"There was a couple of gentlemen on top of the roofs and in the window, and they didn't want to come down,"  McDonald told FOX19.

As McDonald was trying to help people escape, the building was being engulfed in flames.

"There were flames shooting out of the roof and out of the windows which were no longer windows. The fire was very, very intense and very, very high," explained neighbor Stacey Moonitz.

McDonald eventually got the men out of the burning building.

"He didn't want to come, he was burnt. He was burnt up a little bit. He was in bad pain, but it was a life or death situation for him. He had to get on that ladder," said McDonald.

Meanwhile, Ryan Deaton and his family on the third floor were getting a rude awakening.

"I was woken up to a loud bang, and then I heard beating on the door and they yelled 'get the kids out the house is on fire'," said Deaton.

Ryan says he and his wife and children ran to the first floor while the building burned around them.

"We open the door and the hallway is just full of thick black smoke, and we run downstairs with the babies and we come to the front of the house and it's just blazing," he added.

Four families lost just about everything they had, and they feared the worst for Deaton's dog, Tiny.

"That was the big thing that was killing us was losing our dog. I mean, she's our oldest kid," he said.

Hours later, Deaton says Tiny was found safe and sound hiding under a bed on the first floor of the building.

Three people were transported to the hospital where two victims were treated for smoke inhalation and one treated for serious burns. No firefighters were hurt.

It took 50 firefighters to get the fire under control. Authorities say that the fire was caused by an unattended candle.

Damaged is estimated at $100,000.

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the four families who are now homeless.

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