1. #1
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    Default St. Petersburg Fla--Man given temporary housing--burns it

    Police Arrest Arson Suspect
    By ADAM EMERSON aemerson@tampatrib.com
    Published: Jul 25, 2005


    ST. PETERSBURG - A St. Petersburg man for whom a mental health center found temporary housing tried burning it down over the weekend, fire officials said Sunday.
    Harry Truman Washington, 58, was charged with arson in an occupied dwelling.

    Firefighters were called to the fire at 3844 Central Ave. just after 5:20 p.m. Saturday, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Lt. Rick Feinberg said. They found the back of the house ablaze. Three people inside had made it out safely.

    Fifteen minutes after firefighters worked to put out the blaze, Washington approached one of them and said he started the fire, Feinberg said. Police then arrested Washington.

    Washington, who has several convictions for aggravated battery, was being held in the Pinellas County Jail on $100,000 bail Sunday.

    The house serves as temporary housing for clients of the nearby Suncoast Center for Community Mental Health. No one answered the phone at the St. Petersburg center Sunday.

    The American Red Cross provided shelter to one of the people left homeless by the fire, Feinberg said. A family member helped the other.

    There was about $30,000 damage to the home, which sustained smoke and heat damage throughout.


    Reporter Adam Emerson can be reached at (727) 451-2332
    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
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    St. Petersburg Times

    3 victims still in hospital
    By MEGAN SCOTT, Times Staff Writer
    Published July 25, 2005

    -------------------------------
    CLEARWATER BEACH - Three of five people struck by lightning at Clearwater Beach remained hospitalized Sunday, one in critical condition.

    The bolt struck Saturday evening and knocked three people unconscious. A pregnant woman also was hit. She lost sensation in her arms and legs.

    Two of the victims, Darrell Fults, 22, and Casey Douglas, 19, both of Franklin, Tenn., were taken to Morton Plant Hospital, said Joel Gray, division chief for Clearwater Fire Rescue.

    Fults was in critical condition but improving Sunday, said Gentry Fox, his stepfather, who drove from Smyrna, Tenn. Douglas was in good condition.

    "When we got here, Darrell was on a respirator and in a medically induced comatose condition," Fox said. "They have removed the respirator. He has regained consciousness. He is confused ... but after an event like that, who wouldn't be?"

    Fults and Douglas, who are engaged and have a 1-month old son, were at the beach with Fults' cousin, Matthew Fults, 21, of Brandon. Matthew Fults helped the pregnant woman, Susan Darquea, out of the water. He was treated at Morton Plant and released Saturday night.

    Darquea was taken to Largo Medical Center, transferred to Bayfront Medical and later released. Another victim, as yet unidentified, was taken to Largo Medical.

    The lightning struck about 5 p.m., Gray said. The bolt flickered for about three seconds.

    Witnesses said Darrell Fults was in waist-deep water when he was hit. His arms went up and the electricity appeared to lift him out of the water. When the bolt disappeared, he dropped back in the water. Bystanders performed CPR on the three unconscious victims. Several flagged down a fire truck that had been on the beach's roundabout when the bolt hit.

    "The patients had care within a minute and a half of having been struck," Gray said. "They were trying to treat these people out in the open and there's still lightning banging around."

    Fox, an assistant fire chief in Franklin, Tenn., called the event "freakish."

    Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer, who was the chief in Franklin before coming to Clearwater last year, told Fox there were four lightning strikes in the area around that time.
    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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    Tampa Tribune

    Lightning Victim's Progress `A Miracle'
    By ADAM EMERSON aemerson@tampatrib.com
    Published: Jul 25, 2005


    CLEARWATER - During the 10-hour drive from Smyrna, Tenn., to Clearwater, Gentry Fox believed the worst fate would befall his stepson, Darrell Fults.
    Fults was lying in a hospital bed, critically injured and unconscious after a lightning bolt struck the water off Clearwater Beach on Saturday afternoon, releasing an electrical current where he and his fiancee were swimming and knocking them unconscious.

    Fox found his 22-year-old stepson Sunday morning connected to machines at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. ``It did not look good.''

    Then, ``a miracle,'' Fox said. By Sunday afternoon, Fults was twitching his muscles, opening his eyes, breathing on his own.

    He was upgraded from critical to serious condition.

    ``We're a religious family, and there was a lot of praying going on,'' said Fox, an assistant fire chief in Smyrna. ``We feel like it has been answered.''

    The lightning bolt that knocked Fults and fiancee Casey Douglas unconscious injured three others, including a pregnant woman and a teen girl from Ecuador who also lost consciousness.

    They all were near one another about 5 p.m. Saturday in the water when the bolt hit the water, said Joel Gray, a division chief for the Clearwater Fire Department.

    Along with Fults and Douglas, who live in Franklin, Tenn., and have a 1-month-old son, the lightning strike injured Fults' cousin, Matthew Fults of Brandon, who was treated and released from Morton Plant on Saturday.

    Douglas, 19, was in good condition at the hospital, using a wheelchair to visit her fiance.

    The name of the teenager from Ecuador was unavailable Sunday. She was first taken to Largo Medical Center but was transferred later. It was unknown where.

    Susan Darquea, the pregnant woman, was taken to Largo Medical Center and later transferred to Bayfront Medical Center, where she was released Sunday, a Bayfront spokeswoman said.

    At first, paramedics wondered how one lightning bolt could have injured so many people, Gray said.

    Firefighters were near the beach late Saturday afternoon when they heard the rumble of thunder, Gray said. There was no lightning visible until a bolt struck the beach area. The sound was deafening.

    Beachgoers quickly flagged down firefighters. When they came to the water, they found people lying on the sand and several people standing around them, Gray said.

    ``We were puzzled,'' he said, until investigators learned that they were all in the same area in the water when the bolt hit.

    The larger the body of water, the less an electrical current will disperse, Gray said. However, swimmers are vulnerable if they are within 50 yards of a lightning strike in water.

    A bolt of lightning carries about a billion volts of electricity, Gray said.

    Fox noted that his stepson's recovery may only have been possible because paramedics were so close by.

    Darrell Fults, a handyman who likes to soup up cars, was visiting family in Brandon last week with his fiancee and his mother, Ann Fox. They planned to head home Sunday.

    When they heard the news Saturday night, Gentry Fox and some members of Fults' large family in Tennessee - he has two brothers and four sisters - tried to get a flight out Nashville but were forced to travel by car, all the while thinking of the doctors' grim prognosis.

    ``Now, it looks like he's on the road to recovery,'' Fox said.

    A fund to defray some of the family's medical expenses is being set up at the US Bank in Smyrna.


    Reporter Josh Poltilove, researcher Christine Perry and News Channel 8 assignment editor Jason Odra contributed to this report. Reporter Adam Emerson can be reached at (727) 451-2332.
    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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