Saturday fire victim died from blood loss

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 11:08 PM

A preliminary autopsy report indicates a man who died after a cabin fire bled to death from wounds he apparently suffered when he broke out windows so his family members could escape the blaze.

Rick L. Hudson, 56, of Indianapolis, died from a wound to his right forearm that cut through his radial artery, according to preliminary findings from the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville. Officials have not announced any results from the search for the fire’s other apparent victim, 5-year-old Tyevon Temple.

Hudson reportedly broke open a window and helped other family members escape the burning cabin. They were trapped inside the three-story rental by a fire that started at the front entrance to the rented cabin at Cabins at the Crossing, near Collier Drive. Hudson also escaped, but died later as a result of his wounds.

“Ricky was a very devoted husband and it showed to the very end as he risked his life to make sure his wife was (rescued from) the fire,” according to his obituary, which appears online and ran in the Indianapolis Star Thursday.

The cabin was built on a hill, with the front entrance on the highest level at the top of the hill. Local officials have said there was a second door that led outside to the rear on the lowest story, but the family might not have been aware of that entrance. They arrived Friday evening, and the fire started around 4 a.m. Saturday.

Tennessee regulations also call for most rental cabins to have emergency escape windows, but it remains unclear whether the cabin that burned was exempt, or whether it met that requirement.

Sevier County spokesperson Perrin Anderson and Katelyn Abernathy, spokesperson for the state fire marshal’s office, said that local and state personnel are still working the fire as a joint investigation.

Officials from both offices were sifting through the ruins of the cabin, which burned to the ground, for several days in what they acknowledged was a recovery operation looking for the remains of Temple, who has not been seen since the fire.

Family members reportedly said they believed Temple was following them as they tried to escape, but he wasn’t with them when they got out.

Neither the investigators, nor their vehicles and equipment, have been visible at the site as personnel from The Mountain Press visited it several times since Wednesday morning. The site is still surrounded by police tape, however. Anderson and Abernathy wouldn’t comment on whether investigators believe they have found Temple’s remains, but said they hope to have an update on the investigation’s status this weekend.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com