Family gets help after fire

Red Cross gives clothing, food

By SARAH GREENHALGH, sgreenhalgh@news-press.com
Published by news-press.com on November 25, 2003


The Lee County Chapter of the Red Cross has stepped in to help a Cape Coral family forced from its home over the weekend because of a fire.

“We provided groceries, clothing and shoes for two adults and one child,” Red Cross spokesmen Shelby Coffin said. “They were able to find lodging with a family member or a friend.”

Coffin added, “Normally we provide enough clothing and groceries for about three weeks.”

The home had an undetermined amount of fire damage to one bedroom, but Coffin believes they will be able to rebuild.

According to Chief Tom Tomich of the Cape Coral Fire Department, units were dispatched about 9:30 p.m. Saturday to the Southeast Third Street home.

“When they got there the fire had pretty well ventilated itself,” Tomich said. “What that means the fire has to go somewhere, through the ceilings or out the windows. It had exploded out the windows.”

Tomich said it took firefighters 15 to 20 minutes to contain the blaze.

The only injury sustained in the incident was to a firefighter.

“One of our men sucked up some super-heated air and was taken to Cape Coral Hospital for observation,” Tomich said. “He was treated and released the same night.”

The home is owned by Arthur W. Kuhlenschmidt, 45. He was not home at the time of the fire.

Police reported the fire started in a spare bedroom.

According to the police report, Jeanne Kuhlenschmidt told police that her 8-year-old mentally challenged son “started the fire when he was playing with matches.”

Tomich said the fire appears to be accidental, but is still under investigation.