Some Victims Of Tulsa's U-Haul Storage Fire May Be Covered
Some of the people who rented storage space in downtown Tulsa's historic U-haul building might be covered by their insurance and not know it.
That would be good news as firefighters work to find the cause of a fire that damaged the building Sunday.
As of Monday afternoon, those renting units on the first and second floors were being let in to check on their belongings. Firefighters say the most damage was on the third floor, so those who have storage units there have to wait until the fire investigators give the all clear. But one man who stored his belongings on the third floor says a firefighter did something special to make sure his most prized possession was safe.
Everybody has something that means the world to them. For ventriloquist Charlie, it's the mannequin he built himself named Short Change.
"It's a part of me," Charlie said. "Something I made, something I created to make people laugh and stuff like that."
Charlie says he and Short Change travel for shows. And when they're not on the road, for safe keeping and peace of mind, Short Change stays packed away downtown in Charlie's third floor U-Haul storage unit.
"The only reason why I put him here is because I was afraid my house would catch on fire and this place caught on fire," said Charlie.
Fire started at the historic U-Haul Storage building just before 5 o'clock Sunday evening, November 1, 2015. Sixty firefighters were called to help. Many of them stayed for 8 hours, putting the flames out and making sure they didn't rekindle. And there was one firefighter who Charlie says went out of his way to make sure Short Change survived.
Charlie said, "I told them, that's my life, I'm about to go on tour, I need him. I got to have him, you know."
The fire was already out around midnight when Charlie gave a firefighter the key to his unit. And not long after, the two were reunited.
"I couldn't thank him because he disappeared. I would like to know who he was and Short Change and I can both thank him."
And with the exception of smelling like smoke, and some damage to his case, Short Change was safe and still had his sense of humor.
"It was hot. Whew. Real hot."
Charlie doesn't have insurance. While he says he could never put a price on Short Change, State Farm Agent says Jim Campos says it doesn't take a special policy -- if you have renter's or homeowner's insurance, it should cover whatever is in your storage unit.
Campos said, "We want to be able to write the check, but you gotta give us the opportunity to do that."
Agents say if you have a storage unit -- take pictures of what's inside and put them somewhere safe -- in case something like this happens. Firefighters say it's still soon to say what started to fire.