Fire claims the life of Lakeland man

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Patricia Letchworth was sleeping when a fire broke out in a home across the street on Green Road in Lakeland. 

Her husband noticed smoke and flames.

“He woke me up and he said, ‘there is a fire across the street,'” said Letchworth, who has lived in her home for 40 years and knows the family across the street well.

Her husband didn’t have good news.

“He said, ‘I asked Carolyn if everybody got out’ and she said, ‘everybody but her dad.’ Her dad didn’t make it,” said Letchworth.

Edward McLaughlin, 78, died in the fire.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says McLaughlin’s wife spoke to him as the fire was starting.
“His wife who was 70, woke up him up and they all got up and ran because of the fire and he said, ‘let me get a shirt on, I’ll be right there’ and he never came out of the house,” said Judd.

Emma McLaughlin, 70, survived the fire along with her daughter, Carolyn Whittle, 39.

Dailyn Whittle, 14, also survived as did Ivy Pearson, two, as well as Tyler McLaughlin, 22, and Marlana Bargarus, 20.

Sheriff Judd says it’s not clear if McLaughlin was overcome by smoke or flames, but it’s clear a few moments mattered.

“Seconds count, because you’re dealing with toxic fumes in addition to heat and fire, and any one of those can be deadly and they can be deadly very quickly,” said Judd.

Follow Jeff Patterson on Facebook

STORIES OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON — provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s