Spring Hill Fla--Domestic Dispute Ends with House Fire & Fire Fatality
Tampa Tribune--Hernando Today
Father of two killed in fire
By ROBERT NOLTE firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Sep 24, 2003
SPRING HILL - A distraught 38-year-old man died in an explosive fire at his home early Wednesday after an argument with his wife over taking medicine.
The drama began shortly after 6 a.m. when deputies were called to 11135 Holbrook St. in Spring Hill to a verbal spat between a man and his wife.
The officers separated the quarreling couple, parents of two young children, according to Lt. Joe Paez, the sheriff's media spokesman. One deputy spoke to the husband on the front lawn while another officer interviewed the wife.
Suddenly, the husband bolted from the yard, ran into the ranch-styled home and locked the door. Deputies gave chase then after hearing a muffled explosion broke into the house and searched for him as his wife and two children watched in horror from the yard.
Flames, smoke and fumes became so intense the deputies had to retreat from the modest home but not before calling other officers and Spring Hill Fire Rescue to the scene.
The deputies were rushed to Spring Hill Regional Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and later released.
"We understand the couple was arguing over the husband not taking his medicine as prescribed by his doctor," said Paez.
"He didn't have any weapons in his house," said Carmen Centron who lives across the street from the victims. "Everybody knew Ralph. He was a nice guy, always happy."
Though sheriff's officers were not releasing the victim's name, it was learned that a Crystal and Ralph Parson live at the Holbrook Street address.
"The fire damaged the body so badly we may have to make a positive identification by using dental records," said Paez. "We're pretty sure we know who the victim is but until there is a positive identification, we are withholding the name." An autopsy will be done this morning by the medical examiner's office in Leesburg.
The initial call to police was made at 5:52 a.m. by a friend. Sometime during the incident, the wife had called one of her acquaintances and asked her to call for help. Other than the two deputies who responded to the report of a domestic disturbance in progress, there were no other witnesses besides the victim's wife and his children.
The two officers handling the call were Deputies Mack Murdo and Shawn Garlarza.
The street in front of the stricken home was strewn with debris and emergency equipment most of the morning as detectives fanned throughout the neighborhood to talk with witnesses.
Spring Hill Fire Rescue Chief J.J. Morrison reported the home was a total loss with most of the burn-out visible in the garage where firefighters found the body. There was no indication that gunfire occurred except for a popping sound heard by deputies just before the home exploded in flames.
It appears the husband may have used an accelerant such as gasoline to start the fire but that won't be known for certain until the state fire marshal completes his investigation.