One killed, one injured in apartment fire

The following is a writing assignment for my Journalism 300 class at the University of La Verne. Information was provided by the Professor to write a story for a class assignment. Information may be false, outdated, or changed by the Professor for educational purposes.

A 10-year-old boy was killed and his 14-year-old brother was severely burned yesterday  morning when a fire swept through their apartment complex.

The blaze was brought under control at 7:05 a.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

At 6:39 a.m. yesterday, firefighters responded to a fire leaving 10-year-old Kenneth Fuson dead and 14-year-old Michael Fuson severely burned. Michael Fuson suffered third degree burns to his hands, arms, face, neck, back, buttocks and thighs. He is in critical condition at Emanuel Hopsital and Health Center’s burn unit.

A neighbor, 31-year-old Darren Nitz, is credited with saving Michael Fuson’s life.

An estimated $50,000 worth of damage was done to the apartment building, located at 15758 S.E. Division St. The burned contents of the apartment were valued at $90,000.

The $480,000 apartment was rented by Linda Lee Fuson who lived there with her two sons, Kenneth Fuson and Michael Fuson, according to fire department officials.

About 6:35 a.m. Nitz was woken by neighbors yelling and pounding at his door.

“I didn’t think much about it at first until someone said two children were trapped in the apartment,” Nitz said.

The 14-year-old was seven feet from his bedroom door, unable to pass the flames. Nitz tried to grab him by the arm, but couldn’t because of his severe burns. He put Michael Fuson over his shoulder and carried him outside, according to Nitz.

Michael Fuson told Nitz and neighbor Brad Lindsey, 24, that his brother was trapped upstairs. The two went back in with a fire extinguished, but by the time they reached the top of the stairs, the flames had reached the front door.

“It was fully going when we got up there,” Lindsey said. “Just after we got up to them, the fire just vaccumed and shot right across the stairway. There was no way either of us could do anything about it.”

Firefighters got the blaze under control around 7:05 a.m., 26 minutes after arriving.

About 6:40 a.m., Linda Fuson arrived home to see her apartment ablaze. Her whereabouts were unknown at the time.

Fires in an enclosed area, such as the 32-unit apartment complex, can push temperatures to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit near the ceiling and 1,000 degrees near the floor.

The fire burned through the floor and blistered the gypsum walls, melted the family’s television set, and killed three pet birds.

The fire also caused smoke damage to the apartment of Pat and Lisa Hampson, who live across the stairs from the Fuson family, officials said.

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