COLUMBUS, Ind. — A father and son narrowly escaped an overnight fire that destroyed their Columbus home.

Columbus Fire Department responded to 313 Smith St. at about 12:04 a.m. today and arrived within four minutes. When firefighters and police officers arrived at the scene, they found the front of the home was fully engulfed, with heavy fire through the home’s entrance door and living space, and flames pushing out of front and side windows, and shooting well above the home’s roof, said Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for Columbus Fire Department.

Also, Columbus Police Department officers reported hearing explosions as they approached the home and advised firefighters that the several oxygen cylinders were inside, Wilson added.

Garry Gatewood, 63, told fire department investigators that he and his 33-year-old son, Doug Gatewood, were the only occupants in the home, and that the fire began in the living room, where he was seated in a recliner.

Please read Sunday’s edition of The Republic for more details.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at or (812) 379-5639.