USF student's face burned in chemistry lab
A University of South Florida graduate student suffered a chemical burn to the face in a lab Wednesday afternoon, Tampa Fire Rescue said. Yejiao Wang, 28, was working with a partner in class on the fourth floor of the university's Science Building when he opened a container of butylamine and it splashed in his face, said Lt. Meg Ross of the university Police Department. Fire Rescue said butylamine is corrosive and flammable, so nearby classrooms were evacuated while the hazardous materials team assessed the threat. Wang was washed off in the lab's decontamination shower before being treated by Fire Rescue and taken to Tampa General Hospital. Fire Rescue officials said he was in good condition afterward. Hazmat teams said the building is safe and said the spill was confined to the fourth-floor classroom.
Woman critically hurt in house fire
An elderly woman was found unconscious inside her burning home just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Tampa Fire Rescue said. Frances Andrews Baker, 85, was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. She was found on the bathroom floor in her home at 1915 E 18th Ave., by Fire Rescue officials after a neighbor and a police patrol officer were unable to find her in the smoky house, said Tampa police Lt. C.A. Sawicki. Fire marshal's investigators said the fire was started by an electrical failure of a portable radio on the stove top. The radio's plastic casing melted, filling the home with black smoke and causing $45,000 in smoke damage, a news release said. Baker had been living in the home for 44 years. Firefighters got her out of the house and administered CPR. She was taken to Tampa General Hospital.
Wal-Mart Santa sues over '06 fall
Santa Claus may look jolly on the side of Coca-Cola cans each December, but the one who visited Brandon two years ago isn't as happy with the giant beverage company. Gary Ogden, who used to dress as Santa Claus during the holiday season, recently filed suit against Coca-Cola Enterprises and Wal-Mart for an accident that happened in 2006. Ogden was volunteering that year at the Wal-Mart at 949 E Bloomingdale Ave. At the end of a four-hour shift listening to children's gift wishes, he started to climb off his chair, constructed of numerous Coke cartons. The complaint, filed in Hillsborough County, states that the two companies failed to stabilize the cartons or secure them with tape. When he tried to dismount, the chair collapsed. "He had a broken ankle, and bones in his leg were broken," said Tampa attorney Tony Cunningham, who is representing Ogden. Cunningham declined to discuss Ogden's current condition, and Ogden could not be reached. Cunningham said he's filing for damages in excess of $15,000. Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola Enterprises did not return calls seeking comment.
Florida man killed by Iraqi soldier
Master Sgt. Anthony Davis of Deerfield died Monday in Baaj, Iraq, after being shot by an Iraqi soldier while he was conducting a humanitarian food drop, the Defense Department said Thursday. The 43-year-old Davis was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division.
Times staff and wires