Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog.
Our Blog Tips

Cigarette, oxygen appear to have caused Gaston camper trailer fire

6-29-2007 South Carolina:

GASTON, SC (WIS) - A 60-year-old has died in a camper trailer fire that officials say involved the combination of a lit cigarette and the man's nearby oxygen.

The pathologist who performed the autopsy found no evidence of foul play.

Many knew Kevin Griffin around Gaston as the man who ran a roadside peanut stand.

A couple of hours after the fire was out, firefighters still had to hose down the wreckage of Kevin Griffin's trailer. The blaze killed Griffin and Blue, his dog. Both were dead before anyone could get to them.

Timothy Anglin of the Gaston Police Department says the structure was "nothing but fire and smoke. I could see smoke from Highway 321 as I was responding. But it was fully engulfed. What you see is what I pretty much rolled up on, just picture flames all up in it."

His landlord says Griffin had lived in the trailer since the mid-90's. Before that, Griffin lived in a house at the same location. That house off Gaston Street was also destroyed by fire.

Much of his time at the Gaston Street location, he made money selling boiled peanuts, blankets and other items on the roadsides around Gaston.

The 60-year-old suffered from lung disease and had to use a motorized wheelchair. A friend says Griffin's doctor had told him he had only months to live. Friends say Griffin was a heavy smoker.

Landlord Emily Baughman says Griffin would often smoke while using an oxygen tank, and didn't seem to be concerned about the risk of an explosion. She lives next door. "Yes, it worried me. Because I said Kevin, it just shortens your life. He said, 'Well, I ain't got no life anyway.' That's the answer he would give me. I said, 'Oh, my God man, please. Let's live as long as we can.'"

Anglin says, "And as I responded on the scene, there was a couple of mini-explosions also with some flare-ups from the flames."

Friends say Griffin was a good-natured man. Some also knew he had a dark side.

In 1975, he was convicted of rape in Charleston County. His conviction for first degree criminal sexual conduct is listed on the state's sex offender web site. His landlord told WIS News 10 that Griffin admitted serving a lengthy prison term.

But his refusal to stop smoking near an oxygen tank might have bothered them just as much. George Lever says, "We all told him what ... you know, fire and oxygen didn't mix."

Griffin had no immediate family in the area. A sister from Connecticut is said to be on the way to handle funeral arrangements. ..more.. by Jack Kuenzie

No comments: