Plywood hurricane shutters, piled-up objects turn deadly, firefighters say

Plywood hurricane shutters, piled-up objects turn deadly, firefighters say
Plywood hurricane shutters, piled-up objects turn deadly, firefighters say

PLANTATION, Fla. – As devastating flames engulfed part of a home early Sunday morning in Plantation, no one could get in or out.

Plantation Fire Department Deputy Chief Joel Gordon said Monday afternoon that there was plywood covering the windows and all of the doors — except for one. There were also objects piled up inside, Gordon said.

“The male, he is trapped inside the residence,” a 911 dispatcher said during the early Sunday morning fire. “He is unable to get out.”

By the time firefighters were able to get through the debris at 390 SW 55 Terr., in Plantation, Gordon said firefighters found Wade Caldwell, 63, dead on the floor, under the rubble from the ceiling.

A house fire in Plantation left a 63-year-old man dead on Sunday. Firefighters said the hurricane plywood shutters prevented them from getting inside the home. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Sara Reynolds, a neighbor, said Caldwell had put up the plywood during this very active Atlantic hurricane season, which ended Nov. 30.

“He actually said he was going to take those off soon,” Reynolds said.

Caldwell was friendly and enjoyed living in his childhood home, neighbors said. Harris Safra said Caldwell had a passion for photography and for smoking cigars.

Wade Caldwell died on Sunday in his childhood home in Plantation. (Courtesy of Harris Safra)

“Everybody that knew him loved him ... He was a very unique person with a very dry sense of humor. He was funny,” Safra said. “He lit up the room when he walked in.”

Caldwell’s online biography shows his career in commercial photography had spanned for about three decades and he also enjoyed painting.

Caldwell’s recent work out of the studio was mostly local, but his diverse portfolio also included locations in southeast Asia, Turkey, Hungary, Greece, and other parts of the world.

Gordon said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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