Cigarette appears to spark apartment fire Christmas night - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Cigarette appears to spark apartment fire Christmas night

Sandra and Bruce McIntyre Sandra and Bruce McIntyre

By Katie Bauer email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) –The fire broke out in a first floor apartment in the 600 block of Harrison Avenue. It sent 70-year-old John Mellick to the hospital with third degree burns and left a family counting their blessings.

"How ironic I was playing with my grandson all day with a fire truck that we got him for Christmas," said Bruce McIntyre who lives in the apartment building.

On the day after Christmas, Bruce and Sandra McIntyre say they are just thankful to be in their home. "We're very fortunate," said Sandra. "We're very fortunate to be actually sitting here in this apartment, because it could have spread a lot faster," said Bruce.

Around 9:00 Christmas evening, the McIntyres, their son and grandson were all just hanging out, watching a movie, before fear set in. "I smelled smoke and heard the alarms," said Bruce. "

"I grabbed the baby and took off while they were going out the back," said Sandra. "When we looked down the hallway and stairs there was no way to get out," said Bruce.

Bruce says he exited through the back staircase, called 911, and started to alert neighbors in the other five apartments in his building. "I got a friend that lives down in the basement apartment and he was home and I got him out."

On the first floor, Bruce saw where the fire started. He says he knew the man who lived there, lived alone.

"We started knocking on his window out front, trying to rouse him if he was home," said Bruce. "We didn't know if he was home or if anybody was in there, nobody responded and by this time we are looking inside and it's glowing," said Bruce.

Bruce said within minutes fire crews arrived, discovered Mellick was inside and pulled him out.

"He was unconscious and severe smoke inhalation, you could tell, and he was blackened by the smoke and where his burns were I couldn't tell but they said he had some pretty severe burns," said Bruce.

Now the McIntyres say they are just hoping their neighbor will be ok.

"We would see him at the race track occasionally and just around the neighborhood, but a really nice man, a really nice man," said Bruce.

This fire is still under investigation, but it looks like what may have caused it is a cigarette that was dropped on a couch. Mellick was taken to University Hospital and he remains in critical condition.

 (Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All rights reserved.)

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