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Man injured in overnight fire

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Trish Bennett, Editor



Members of the Division of State Fire Marshal comb through the rubble of a house fire that injured a man overnight in Walnut Township. (Photo by Trish Bennett)

The fire that destroyed this home is believed to have started in the garage on the other side of the house.

WALNUT TOWNSHIP – The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of a blaze that injured one resident and left three more homeless on Pine Drive early Friday morning.

Charles Rhodes, 66, of 2945 Pine Dr., was transported by Circleville medics to Berger Hospital for treatment of burn injuries, according to the report from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Eric Edgington, Harrison Township Fire Department, said Rhodes was then airlifted to a Columbus hospital overnight.

Richard Greeno, 40, Kathleen Christman, 36, and Harley Christman, 10, all reportedly escaped the home without injury.

Though the incident remains under investigation, Edgington said the fire appears to have started in the garage and quickly spread into the house where the four occupants were sleeping.

According to reports, the fire was called in about 12:38 a.m. by Lisa McNairy, who is being credited with helping Greeno rescue Rhodes from the lower level of the burning home.

Sgt. John Schleich, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, reported the two were dragging Rhodes out the front door when he arrived on the scene.

McNairy, 50, was unavailable for comment Friday, but her mother who shares the neighboring home said McNairy was sleeping when her dog alerted her about the fire.

“Oh, my, it was terrible,” said Marilyn Fausnaugh. “She went into the house and said it was completely black with smoke. She said she could hear him hollering, ‘Help me, help me,’ but she couldn’t see him.”

Fausnaugh said Greeno knew where Rhodes was located in the lower level of the split-level home, and he managed to drag the victim up the stairs to the living room. From there, she said, he and McNairy got him through the house and out the front door.

Fausnaugh said her daughter formerly lived in Colorado and had taken EMT courses there before coming back to Pickaway County.

“She’s always just right in there, doing what she can do to help anybody,” Fausnaugh said.

The Harrison Township Fire Department was assisted at the scene by firefighters and EMS crews from Circleville, Pickaway Township, Rickenbacker, Scioto Township, Southwest Fire District and Williamsport. Box65 and the American Red Cross also assisted at the scene.

Edgington said the house, owned by Don McKennis of Grove City, suffered heavy fire and water damage and is considered a total loss. The family of tenants reportedly had no renter’s insurance.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal