Russellville fire leads to car crash death

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RUSSELLVILLE - Anthony Gilpin was trying to save his family's life. In the end, he lost his own.

At approximately 4 p.m. yesterday, a fire broke out at 14116 Route V in Russellville. Shirley Gilpin and her two grandsons, Dillon and Jordan, were in the house at the time. The grandsons had been playing with matches, and the situation had gotten out of control. They had to evacuate the house.

Just when it could not get any worse for the Gilpins, it did.

"While we were here working the fire, we were toned out for an injury accident at Rte. C and Rte. D," Russellville Lohman Fire Chief Chris Cinotto said. "I sent a couple units over there ... When they arrived on the scene, they reported there was a possible fatality. It was the son of our residents here."

After receiving a call about the fire, Anthony Gilpin, the son of Shirley and Butch Gilpin, and Anthony's cousin, Fredrick Cundiff, rushed to the scene. They were heading west on Rte. C when Anthony Gilpin lost control of his car. It skidded across two lanes, rolled over, and both Cundiff and Gilpin were ejected.

Authorities declared Gilpin dead on the scene. Cundiff was taken to University Hospital in serious condition.

Shirley Gilpin and her two grandsons escaped from the burning house without harm. The house, however, was not so lucky.

Physical belongings can be recovered over time. A person like Anthony Gilpin cannot.

Crystal Smith, one of Anthony Gilpin's best friends, grieves the loss for both her and Gilpin's family.

"He was just that guy. Every town has one.. A big teddy bear. And he was ours," said Smith. "Now he's gone."

Doctors are still treating Fredrick Cundiff, Anthony Gilpin's cousin, at University Hospital.