Injured Freetown man remains in critical condition

Tribune staff report

A man burned when the furnace in his home exploded Monday night remains in critical condition at an Indianapolis hospital.

David Painter, 54, of Freetown was treated by personnel with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services before being flown from a field across from his home to the burn unit at Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. He was listed in critical condition there Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Painter was in his one-story, wood-framed home at 4807 W. Columbus Pike when the furnace exploded Monday, police report.

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Pershing Township Fire Chief Ben Rudolph said an investigation conducted by himself and Josh Kreigh of the State Fire Marshal’s Office showed the explosion was accidental and caused by the way the furnace was being operated.

Jackson County Officer Stan Darlage gave Painter’s 39-year-old neighbor, Joe Francis, the credit for pulling Painter, who was severely burned, out of his home after the explosion.

Francis, who is an emergency medical technician and firefighter with the Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department, said he took Painter, who was on fire when he first saw him, to the front yard and moved him away from the house before shutting off the LP tank.

He then called dispatch at the sheriff’s department for a helicopter and waited with Painter until firefighters, ambulance workers and police arrived to put out the fire and stabilized Painter so he could be taken to Indianapolis.

Painter purchased the home, which sits on less than an acre, in March 2014.

Firefighters from Brownstown and Owen-Salt Creek volunteer fire departments were called to the scene to assist.