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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post 2 Die in Brandon Fla Apartment Fire

    Teen, uncle killed in Brandon apartment fire

    BRANDON, Fla. (AP) -- A developmentally disabled teenager was alone in his apartment when his uncle noticed a fire and rushed inside. Both died when they were unable to get out on their own.

    Lanorris Singletary was upstairs when he smelled smoke Wednesday and noticed Dean Harold's legs hanging out of a first-floor window. Harold, 37, became wedged between a headboard and a window and couldn't free himself or his nephew, Patrick Loredo, 17.

    Singletary punched out the window glass with his fist, and another neighbor, Justin Burns, went at the window frame with a sledgehammer. Ducking searing heat and thick smoke, they finally pulled Harold free and used a window screen as a stretcher to carry him to the lawn.

    Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Capt. Ray Yeakley said investigators were still trying to determine what started the fire 12 miles east of Tampa.

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    Bea Tiemann said she was outside talking to Harold and the boy's mother Toni Loredo when Harold looked toward the apartment and said, "Uh-oh."

    "There was some smoke and flames and, when (Harold) opened the front door of the apartment, the flames shot out like an inferno and the smoke started rolling out," she said. "The fire was everywhere, but (Harold) charged right through it. I guess he was only thinking about saving Patrick."

    Neighbors held back Loredo's mother as the fire destroyed four apartments.

    "All she kept saying was, 'Get my baby. Get my baby,'" Tiemann said. "I have no idea how she's going to deal with this."

    Hours later, Toni Loredo sat on a curb with her knees hugged tightly to her chest, refusing offers of shelter as it started to rain.

    Tiemann said Toni Loredo was devoted to her son.

    "He was the center of her universe. She absolutely loved that child. I don't know if she'll survive without him. He was a wonderful, special kid."

    ---
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Students, Faculty Grieve Classmate Killed In Blaze
    By JILL KING GREENWOOD jgreenwood@tampatrib.com
    Published: Mar 18, 2005




    BRANDON - Less than 24 hours after 17-year-old Patrick Loredo died in a raging fire at his apartment, Peggy Ferro, administrator at his school, found herself staring at the boy's picture, her breath caught in her throat.
    On Thursday morning, a package arrived at Peter Willis Exceptional Center in Dover, containing photos taken last month of the school's 125 developmentally challenged students.

    ``I just thought about how nice that photo was and how comforting it will be for his mother to have it at this time,'' Ferro said. ``It's strange that it came [Thursday] ... Patrick's mother lost everything, including every picture she had of her son, so I think she'll love this.''

    Not only did the boy's mother lose her son, but also her brother, Dean Harold, 37, who perished trying to rescue his nephew.

    Ferro said Loredo attended the school for about five years and his mother, Toni, was active with the school's parent group.

    Toni Loredo coordinated a Valentine's Day party for students and staff, Ferro said, and was a regular face in the hallways.

    ``She was just like another staff member here,'' Ferro said. ``Patrick was her world, and she was so devoted to him. He was such a happy, smiling kid, and he was always telling jokes. His mother was a big reason why he was such a beautiful child.''

    Ferro said teachers and school staff members got together Thursday to buy clothing and other necessities for Toni Loredo.

    Teachers encouraged students to find photos of their classmate to remember him with or give to his mother.


    Struggling With Tragedy

    Students and faculty at the school, along with neighbors and managers at the Hamilton Pointe Apartments, where the boy and his uncle died, struggled Thursday to come to terms with the tragedy.

    Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials, along with state Fire Marshal's investigators, were working to determine what sparked the blaze that began in Apt. 618 shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

    Patrick Loredo was alone in the apartment when the blaze began, and Harold was outside talking with the boy's mother and a neighbor.

    Harold ran inside in an effort to save him but apparently was overcome by smoke and passed out while breaking out a window. Neighbors pulled him to safety, but he died a short time later at Tampa General Hospital.

    Fire Capt. Ray Yeakley said investigators hadn't determined a cause as of Thursday but were classifying the blaze as ``nonsuspicious.''

    He said damage was so extensive it may impede investigators in pinning down a cause. Four apartments were destroyed. Four others had smoke and water damage.

    Yeakley said autopsies performed on Patrick Loredo and Harold pointed to smoke inhalation as the cause of death for both. Harold also suffered severe burns in the blaze, Yeakley said.

    At the Peter Willis Exceptional Center, crisis counselors were brought in to aid students and staff members and to answer questions about Patrick Loredo's death.

    Ferro said the students, who range in age from 3 to 22, had different levels of understanding about the tragedy. Some grasped what happened and recounted the past deaths of family members; others didn't seem to comprehend the gravity of the situation.


    `We're Just Heartbroken'

    ``It's a different kind of counseling with these kids because you have to take it down to their level,'' Ferro said. ``We just kept it very basic and talked about what happened and how they were feeling, and then we talked about their memories of Patrick.

    ``Death is a hard thing to process for us, and it's even harder for these kids. We're more of a family than a school here, and we're just heartbroken about this.''

    At the apartment complex, a memorial of flowers, stuffed animals, cards and candles sprung up at the base of a large tree in front of Loredo's apartment.

    Few there knew much about Harold, who didn't live at the complex but stopped by often to visit his sister and nephew, neighbors said. They said Harold had a young child and lived nearby with his girlfriend.

    Property Manager Patti King was working with area churches and the Tampa chapter of the American Red Cross on Thursday to collect money and necessities for Toni Loredo and other displaced residents.

    She said the complex had placed a few of the 17 residents affected by the fire into vacant apartments, and the Red Cross was providing food, clothing and shelter for the rest.

    Neighbor Bea Tiemann, 72, who grew close to Toni and Patrick Loredo in the past few months, took a check for $100 to King on Thursday. ``I want to do what I can to help Toni put her life back together as much as she can,'' she said.


    Reporter Jill King Greenwood can be reached at (813) 657-4534.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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