July 03, 2000 04:47am
Naked Man Gives Neighbors Alarm as he Flees Blaze
Source: Miami Herald
by: Daniel de Vise
(FORY LAUDERDALE, FL) -- It's hard to say what caused more of a stir early Sunday on a sleepy Fort Lauderdale street: the fire or the man who burst from the burning structure, naked, screaming and covered with soot.
John Parker, 40, wasn't hurt in the fire that gutted his house at 1207 NE First Ave. shortly after 1 a.m. But in his alarm, Parker ran naked for nearly a mile through the yards and streets of central Fort Lauderdale before stealing a pair of pants from a clothesline.
Parker's midnight journey sparked as much commotion as the fire itself, which sent flames 10 feet into the air and brought 23 firefighters to the burning house.
``We had neighbors who came up from their front yards who said they had seen a naked man screaming and yelling,'' said Stephen McInerny, spokesman for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. ``He was trying to get a neighbor's attention. But it wasn't, perhaps, the kind of attention you'd want to get at 1:20 in the morning, a soot-covered naked man at your door.''
Fire officials said Parker fell asleep in his living room after leaving a pipe burning in his bedroom. When the smoke awakened him, the bedroom was in flames. Parker ran outside for a garden hose and tried to fight the fire himself, but the heat and flames drove him away. He was alone in the dwelling.
Parker ran to a neighbor's house and pounded on the door for help. But the neighbor would not admit the naked, soot-blackened caller. Parker ran off into the night.
Police picked him up on Sunrise Boulevard an hour later.
``He would have actually looked pretty scary,'' Police Officer McInerny said.
Later, Parker said he could not recall where he had found the pants. But they fit. And, with the destruction of his home, they are the only item of clothing he has.
``Somebody this morning is probably wondering what happened to their pants,'' McInerny said.