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North Miles resident burned in grease fire

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Man’s actions may have saved daughter, home

By Bob White

bwhite@thenewsenterprise.com

A North Miles Street man kept a dangerous grease fire from burning his daughter and consuming their home Thursday, sacrificing himself in the process.

According to the man's daughter, Naomi Cliett, 13, fried chicken grease in a pan on a stove burst into flames and ignited cabinetry.

She said her father, Kent Cliett, reached for an extinguisher that proved to be faulty.

“The fire extinguisher wasn't working right,” she said.

Running out of options, the girl said her father grabbed the flaming pot and rushed it out a side door to the driveway.

The rush of air stoked the grease fire into a searing burst.

“That’s when he was burned,” Naomi said.

The girl said she yelled at one point, but pulled herself back together to call 911 for help for her father.

Windows and blinds in the little white house were blackened by soot, but the girl's father protected her, and saved the structure.

His quick actions kept the blaze from spreading beyond the kitchen, but that protection to home and family came with a cost.

Both of Kent Cliett’s arms, his upper back and parts of his chest were ravaged by third and second-degree burns.

The ambulance Naomi called rushed him to Hardin Memorial Hospital. From there he was transferred to a burn unit at University Hospital in Louisville.

“He’s going to be in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks,” said Kent’s wife, Waltraud Cliett. “He may even need a (skin) transplant.”

On Friday, she said he was in pain from the many burn wounds. It could take skin grafts and lots of recovery time, but Waltraud Cliett said she expects her husband to recover.

Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.