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Fire that killed Rock Hill man, 98, ruled accidental

Staff Reports
The Herald
fatalfire0109
Andy Burriss - aburriss@heraldonline.com
A Rock Hill fire investigator says a fire that killed a 98-year-old Rock Hill man Thursday was accidental.

ROCK HILL A fire that killed a 98-year-old Rock Hill man on Thursday started when the victim apparently tried to dismantle a propane cylinder for scrap metal, the Rock Hill Fire Department said Monday.

Fred Cathcart apparently thought the 25-pound propane cylinder was empty, Battalion Chief Rusty Myers said. When the cylinder head was dismantled, propane gas under heavy pressure was released. That caused an explosion and fire.

The blaze has been ruled an accident.

The fire started just before noon on Thursday. Neighbors said they heard an explosion seconds before flames engulfed Cathcart’s home at 1132 Hoyle St. in the Boyd Hill neighborhood.

Alice Crockett Wilson, 54, who rented a room in Cathcart’s house was severely burned in the fire. She remained in fair condition Monday at a North Carolina burn center.

Wilson, who was burned on the left side of her body, was taken by helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. She has been in fair condition since being upgraded from serious condition on Friday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The fire department said that unless more information is received, its report is finished.

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