A Hope man was in critical condition Friday night after being burned on more than 85 percent to 90 percent of his body in a home fire.
David Tindell, 52, was flown to Wishard Burn Center in Indianapolis after the early morning fire at his mobile home in the Circle Drive Trailer Park on Aiken Street.
Hope Town Marshal Randy Bailey said Hope police and volunteer firefighters were called to the home at 12:11 a.m. Friday. When Officer Mike Childers arrived on the scene, he found dark, black smoke pouring from the home.
David Tindell and his 50-year-old brother, Raymond, lived at the home. Raymond Tindell broke out a window to escape and was treated for cuts to his legs.
Firefighters were told when they arrived that David Tindell was still inside. Volunteer firefighters Matt Tallent and Levi Garrison, who arrived on the first fire truck at the scene, donned breathing gear, grabbed a fire hose that had yet to be charged with water and headed into the burning home. Surrounded by thick smoke and flames, they began searching for the victim.
“When we first entered the house, it was dark; our masks kept fogging up, so we had to keep clearing those,” Garrison said.
Tallent said he and Garrison were told Tindell likely was in the living room. Tallent, a full-time officer with the Hope Police Department, has been on the volunteer fire department for 18 years but had never entered a home to rescue someone before Friday.
“Once we got into the house, we were shouting his name and he actually started mumbling and gave us a little idea of where he was,” Tallent said.
Although they could not see Tindell in the thick smoke, they found him under a kitchen table. Tallent and Garrison each grabbed an arm and began pulling Tindell toward the door. On their way out, they had to move aside a recliner, coffee table and other furniture to clear the path.
Garrison, who started as a cadet with the fire department when he was 14, has been a firefighter and emergency medical technician for about four years. He said the hours of training kicked in immediately after they got Tindell out of the house.
“Everyone knew at that point what we needed to do,” Garrison said. “There was no talking or asking questions.”
Several firefighters laid their coats on the ground and placed Tindell on top of them. Garrison and another firefighter put their coats over him to keep him warm. They then packaged him for the LifeLine flight and helped transport him to Hauser Junior-Senior High School, where the helicopter landed.
An investigation of the fire scene by Bailey, Hope Fire Chief Jon Ross and the state fire marshal’s office revealed that the fire was sparked by a cigarette thrown into a trash can in the bathroom. The blaze melted the bathtub and other fiberglass fixtures in the bathroom as it climbed the walls and ignited the house, Bailey said.
No damage estimate was immediately available.
Hope police and fire departments were assisted at the scene by Columbus Regional Hospital ambulance, the LifeLine helicopter ambulance service and Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.