Brother tried to run into burning home to save disabled Vietnam veteran’s life
Dayton Daily News
By Rick McCrabb, Staff Writer
March 13, 2019
When Don Howard was told Monday night his brother’s home caught fire, he quickly made the short drive to the home in the 900 block of Sixth Avenue.
He tried to run into the burning building — where flames were shooting 30 feet in the air — but was held back by Middletown police officers. When Howard saw the location and intensity of the flames, he knew his brother, James “Butch” Gann, 71, was trapped in the home because he needed assistance with his walker.
On Tuesday morning, with the smell of smoke still fresh in the air, Howard and Joshua Jones, Gann’s son, stood in the street and greeted numerous well-wishers who drove by the house.
Jones said he knocked down the front door trying to rescue his father, who was watching TV in a back room. But Jones was unable to reach his father. He can’t comprehend his father, an Army veteran who served during Vietnam, dying in a house fire.“I don’t believe he went that way,” Jones said. “It hurts real bad.”He said his father was a volunteer cook at the Louella Thompson “Feed The Hungry” program and coached for about 15 years in the Pee Wee Football program in Middletown. The players called him “Coach Butch,” his son said.
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