Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fire Investigation Continues

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fire Investigation Continues

Article excerpt


SARASOTA COUNTY -- The State Fire Marshal's Office and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office are jointly investigating what caused a house fire that killed two people and led to a dramatic rescue Wednesday by firefighters, who broke a hole in an exterior wall to free a trapped man.

Authorities said Benjamin and Cynthia Langford, both 68, died in the three-alarm blaze that extensively damaged their Kensington Park home. Their son, whose name had not been released late Thursday, was pulled through a window area that firefighters widened with sledgehammers.

"They basically put the hose line between him and the fire, keeping the fire from advancing on them, which gave them

time," Sarasota County Battalion Chief John Elwood said.

The man was reported to be in stable condition after being taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. There was no report on any injuries he may have sustained, although he was not reported to have suffered any burns.

He was found when firefighters arrived at the house to find flames already shooting through the roof. They searched room by room, finding the Langfords' bodies before reaching the man in a bedroom on the southwest corner of the home at 3864 Sugar Lane. They slipped an oxygen mask over his face and turned their attention to the blaze approaching his room.

Several firefighters used sledgehammers to knock out a window and chip away at the exterior wall until it was wide enough to carry the man out.

"There was so much material inside the house in order to evacuate the couple's son they had to breach a wall on the outside of the rear of the home to take that individual out through the wall," Elwood said. "They were not able to go out through the door."

Fire Chief Michael Regnier said extra firefighters were called to make the extrication easier.

'Nobody deserves this'

Firefighters were called to the home just before 3 p. …

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