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Arson detectives investigate Largo mobile home fire that injured two

Alex Hogue, 3, looks at remains of a neighbor’s home Saturday at Green Meadows Mobile Home Park in Largo.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Alex Hogue, 3, looks at remains of a neighbor’s home Saturday at Green Meadows Mobile Home Park in Largo.

LARGO — Arson detectives Saturday were investigating a Christmas night mobile home fire that injured two people, authorities said.

Deputies responded to the fire at Lot 26 in the Green Meadows Mobile Home Park, 1799 Seminole Blvd., about 9:20 p.m., the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said. The Largo Fire Department responded about the same time and put out the blaze.

Diane S. Cole and Wesley Z. Carter, both 54, were asleep when the fire started. The smoke woke Carter, who tried to get Cole out of the home but couldn't, authorities said. He then ran to get help.

Neighbor Bret Douglas, 52, then rushed across the street to help Cole escape.

Douglas said he was alerted to the fire by his friend Carol Ayres' dog, which was acting up and barking moments after the blaze broke out.

Ayres, 51, said she alerted the park's management and called 911 while Douglas rushed outside to help the couple's cat, which had emerged on fire from the engulfed mobile home.

"(Douglas) tried to help the cat, then he realized the woman was still in there," Ayres said. "The flames were hitting the power lines."

Ayres said Douglas, a former lifeguard, has saved lives before.

"Bret didn't hesitate," Ayres said. "The place was going up in flames. He went in and brought her out, or else she would have burned up on there."

Douglas ran into the trailer and found Cole lying on the floor trying to crawl out.

"She was coughing," Douglas said. "She said, 'Please, please help get me out of here.' She couldn't move at all, and I couldn't pick her up. I felt helpless, so I had to drag her by the feet to the driveway."

Once he got Cole out of the trailer, Douglas picked her up and carried her across the street.

Douglas said Cole was burned but conscious after her rescue. He had only minor singes on his arms. Cole was flown and Carter was taken by ambulance to Tampa General Hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

Authorities say the origin and cause of the fire are still under investigation.

Arson detectives investigate Largo mobile home fire that injured two 12/26/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 26, 2009 8:40pm]
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