Monday, April 12, 2004

3-year-old rescued from house fire

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

TRENTON - Three-year-old Gage Sturgill was still unconscious and in critical condition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Sunday night after firefighters in this Butler County town used a thermal imaging camera to find the boy inside a burning, smoky house early Sunday morning.

When volunteer Trenton firefighters arrived at Gage's grandparents' house on the 300 block of East Page Street shortly before 3 a.m., five of the six people who had been sleeping inside had made it out.

Gage was still inside. Family members yelled from outside, trying to coax him from his bedroom.

"But he was really afraid, so he hid under the bed," said Gage's uncle, Jack Sturgill, who lives five blocks away.

A team of three Trenton firefighters - Capt. Randy Combs and firefighters Dave Runnels and Eddie Myers - rushed in and searched for Gage with the thermal imaging camera. They found him unconscious on his bedroom floor.

He was taken to Middletown Regional Hospital, then taken by helicopter to Children's Hospital in Corryville.

"We train for this all the time, but it doesn't happen too often," said Trenton fire chief Tom Puckett. "It's second nature when you do it, but then afterward it really gets in firefighters' heads."

The house was a total loss, and Butler County fire investigators were searching for a cause Sunday night, though arson is not suspected.



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