A Lindale man burned in an explosion at a Hughes Dairy Road house was scheduled to be flown via helicopter to a regional burn center late Sunday, according to Rome-Floyd Fire Department officials.
According to Battalion Chiefs Roger Haggard and Phil Litton:
Kerry Winn, 61, was injured in a gas explosion inside his 105 Hughes Dairy Road home around 6:30 p.m.
“There was no power or gas turned on at the residence,” Haggard said on the scene. “So it must have come from an external gas source the resident was using for either heat or light.”
Haggard said flames engulfed the single-story home, causing extensive damage.
Winn was the sole resident.
“By the time we got here, we had a fully-involved structure fire,” Haggard said. “The fire had spread to the carport and damaged a vehicle parked inside.”
Litton added later that a propane-fueled heater was likely the cause, but the incident is under investigation by the fire marshal’s office.
“The fire investigator will be out here in the morning to find out exactly what happened,” he said late Sunday.
Winn’s longtime neighbor, Richard Padgett, said he was watching a football game when he heard the explosion next door.
He said Winn is legally blind and did not have any utilities connected to his house since he lives on a fixed income.
“I went outside and heard Kerry screaming for help,” Padgett said through tears. “I found him laying on the ground. … He was badly burned, and I guess he fell when he went out the back door because it looked like he broke his arm. He had said he was at home sleeping and had some sort of lantern going.”
Padgett said he called 911 and took Winn inside his home while they waited for an ambulance.
“Kerry kept screaming about how badly it hurt, and I didn’t know if his lungs were burned or he was going to be OK,” Padgett said.
Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control within 30 minutes of their arrival.
Nearby Booze Mountain Road and Hughes Dairy Road were temporarily closed for nearly two hours, however, while fire crews doused hotspots.
Litton said Winn was taken to Floyd Medical Center and would be airlifted to a local burn center. He was unsure late Sunday which burn unit Winn would be taken to.
“And we’re not sure about a condition yet, because we don’t know where he’s going,” said Litton. “But he is getting Life-flighted out tonight.”
Meanwhile, Padgett said he was praying his neighbor would be all right.
“He’s a pretty amazing man,” he added.