Butler Co. family reeling from two tragedies

Firefighters work the scene at a residential fire in Reilly Township. FOX19 photo
Firefighters work the scene at a residential fire in Reilly Township. FOX19 photo

REILLY TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - A family in Reilly Township is reeling from two tragedies just five hours apart Thursday night.

It began around 8:30 p.m. when 10-year-old Adam Lakin was hit by a car as he rode his bike in the 1500 block of Sample Road in Butler County.

He was transported to Cincinnati Children's Medical Center but shortly after his family arrived to be with him, their home went up into flames.

"They stayed out here playing, riding bikes, just boy stuff," said neighbor and family friend Misti Ghent.

Misti and Thomas Ghent live across the street from Adam Lakin and say the young boy spent the afternoon playing with their children at their home. Before dark, he took off on his bike back to his home just a short distance away.

"Thomas watched him go all the way home across the road to his driveway and that seemed to be that," said Misti Ghent.

But it wasn't. Seconds later, sirens rang out and Misti Ghent says she saw several police and fire fighters on Sample Road.

"They all stopped right there in front of the house and we knew right then and there. He had just left. He got hit," said Misti Ghent.

Just a few feet from his driveway,  Lakin was struck from behind by a vehicle.

"He had a head injury which is always dangerous," said Fire Chief John Quillen of Reilly Fire Department and EMS.

Quillen says they rushed Lakin to the nearest hospital. Because air care was not available, he was driven to Cincinnati Children's with his mom and brother close behind.

Just a few hours later, Quillen says he got the call to return to the same address on Sample Road.

"As soon as we got there, we knew it was the family," says Quillen.

"I opened the door up and there is her house just blazing. I've never seen a fire like that before," said Misti Ghent.

Fire trucks once again covered Sample Road at around 1:30 a.m. Friday this time putting out the flames shooting from Lakin's home. His mother was still at his side in the hospital. Misti Ghent and her husband Thomas Ghent called to tell her the news.

"She was just shocked like, 'what?!' It's just horrible. It's terrible. My heart breaks for them," says Misti Ghent. "You know that little boy is thinking, 'I can't wait to get home and play with my toys' or whatever and now he don't have that no more."

Amazingly, no one was hurt in the fire. Rescuers saved a family dog from the bedroom. Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Lakin's grandmother, aunt and uncle returned to the home Friday to salvage what they could but unfortunately were only able to gather a few wet pictures and a few belongings.

Lakin is still being treated for a brain injury at Cincinnati Children's where he is listed in serious condition. His grandmother tells FOX 19 he is awake and talking.

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