A Fort Smith couple is air-lifted to a burn unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s in Little Rock. A family member says Tim and Ella Chapman are suffering severe burns after their home caught fire.
According to a nurse, Ella is in critical condition and relying on a ventilator to breath. Burns are covering 37% of her body. The nurse also says Ella’s husband Tim is close to critical condition with 20% of his body burned. He’s expected to have multiple surgeries starting next week.
Neighbors say they heard an explosion when the fire started at the house in the 9100 block of Fresno Circle Thursday (March 14, 2013). “We felt it. I mean we heard the explosion and felt it. It was almost like it was our garage, like someone had run a car into it,” said neighbor Lindsay Rouse. Another neighbor, Doris Reed, said “I was sitting in my house and it vibrated my house.”
Neighbors tell 5NEWS Ella Chapman then came screaming out of the house. “She was the first one out. And we brought her over to our yard and I laid with her, laid her down and it was rough,” explained Rouse.
Tim was still inside the house when she came out. He made it out with severe burns. “She’s burned pretty good and Tim is too. Their hair was just burnt,” Reed said.
Fort Smith Police say live ammunition was going off inside the garage making the fire harder to fight.
“They’re great people. I’m sad to see something like this happened to them. I really am,” said neighbor Lamonte Scaife.
A neighbor said two dogs and a cat were inside the home at the time of the explosion and did not make it out.
The home appears to be heavily damaged. No word yet on what caused the fire.