Man injured in fire rescue attempt

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Daily Dunklin Democrat

KENNETT, Mo. -- An Arbyrd man remains in the hospital as the result of injuries sustained when he attempted to rescue his uncle from a burning home Friday night.

Douglas Wayne Dotson II, suffered severe lacerations and other injuries to an arm when he broke a window in the back of the home of his uncle in an unsuccessful attempt to enter the burning home and rescue the man. He had gone to the back of the home after a wall of flames had prevented him from entering a front door.

James Edward Dotson, 41, of Arbyrd, died in the blaze which swept through his one-story home at 201 South Main.

Authorities are unsure of exactly what happened, but said it appeared Dotson had gotten out of his house and then had returned in an apparent attempt to extinguish the flames using a garden hose. However, a knot in the hose shut off the water flow. Dotson, for whatever reason, was unable to get out of the blazing structure.

The Arbyrd Fire Department responded to the fire and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home. They were unable to quell the blaze before it ravaged the structure.

Authorities said Arbyrd Mayor Johnny Zolman and Fire Chief Derrick Higgins entered the house and brought Dotson out, but he was already dead.

Dunklin County Coroner Jack Adkins said Dotson appeared to have died as the result of asphyxiation by smoke inhalation.

An autopsy is not planned.

Sheriff Bob Holder said a neighbor, Glen R. Baugh, 100 S. Main, reported the fire in a 911 call answered by his dispatchers at 9:13 p.m.

Holder said the cause of the fire has not been determined, and that an investigation into the circumstance of the fire continues. He said investigators are leaning toward the theory that the fire was accidental, but are awaiting the state fire marshal's report on the fire before making a final determination.

The investigation is being conducted by the sheriff's department, members of the Dunklin County Major Case Squad, the Arbyrd Police Department and the State Fire Marshal.

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