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Polk County Fire Kills 78-Year-Old Man and Three Dogs

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on October 14, 2017

Reports emerging from the Lakeland Fire Department and the Polk County Fire Rescue are shedding light on a deadly house fire that occurred in Lakeland earlier this week. According to an official statement from Polk County Fire Rescue spokesperson Kevin Walter, firefighters within the county received a call close to 1:30 on Wednesday morning that directed them to the Lakeland address 7445 Green Road. When they arrived, fire rescue personnel discovered a large single-story home on fire as well as individuals still trapped within the burning structure.

As a result of the efforts of Polk County Fire Rescue members, six individuals were able to be safely removed from the home. The list of the rescued includes the 70-year-old Emma McLaughlin; her daughter, the 39-year-old Carolyn Whittle; Carolyn Whittle’s own daughters, the 14-year-old Daily Whittle and the 2-year-old Ivy Pearson; Carolyn Whittle’s 22 year-old son Tyler McLaughlin, and McLaughlin’s then girlfriend, the 20-year-old Marlana Bargarus.

Firefighters arrived at the home six minutes after the initial call was placed. At this time, rescued members of the family alerted the fire personnel that another individual, the 78-year-old Edward McLaughlin, was still inside the home with three dogs. It took the rescue teams only seven minutes to reach the back room where it was believed the elder McLaughlin was located, but by this time the fire and smoke had overcome the man. The Polk County Fire Rescue team recovered his body and he was declared dead at the scene. The three dogs that were within the home at the time of the fire also perished in the flames.

The fire at 7445 Green Road is still under investigation as employees of the Florida Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations looks to concretely determine what exactly caused the flames that destroyed the home and killed McLaughlin. At the time of this writing, no theories have emerged to indicate whether or not the police have any specific avenues which they are planning on exploring or if it is believed that arson may have caused the destructive fire.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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