Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

17-Year-Old Dies in House Fire Family Can't Save Youth from Blaze

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

17-Year-Old Dies in House Fire Family Can't Save Youth from Blaze

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

PATTERSON -- A Pierce County youth was killed and one of his younger brothers injured in a pre-dawn blaze yesterday that destroyed their family's rural home.

Robert Rice, 17, was found dead by firefighters inside his bedroom in the one-story farm house that burned to the ground in the 6900 block of Dutch Road, said Detective Gary Smith of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

Joe Rice, 15, was burned on both hands and arms while trying to rescue his older brother. Joe was treated and later released from a local hospital, Smith said.

Their 16-year-old brother Michael Rice, as well as their mother, Gail Rice, and stepfather, Richard Herrin, also attempted to reach Robert but were driven back by the intense flames. They were not injured, Smith said.

"The family did all they could to save him but there was nothing they could do," Smith said.

Robert's body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime laboratory near Atlanta for an autopsy. …

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