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Navy Veteran Dies In Mannford Fire

Posted: Updated:
MANNFORD, Oklahoma -

An Oklahoma Navy Veteran is dead after a fire in Creek County Sunday.

Firefighters said the man was trapped inside his burning home when the fire broke out. 

Daniel Crofford said he woke up and saw the flames shooting out of the home.

"I heard a pop, didn’t think much of it. But then I started seeing smoke," Crofford said. 

Instead of running away, Crofford ran toward the flames. 

He said he called 911 and alerted neighbors that their portable home was on fire.

"I alerted the family and I said hey you have a fire, that's when they told me there was somebody in the building," Crofford said. 

He said he and the family grabbed a flashlight in an attempt to save the man inside the burning home, but the smoke was too thick.

"I crawled in a little ways and reached around and yelled his name and I thought I heard a groan, but that's the only thing I ever heard," Crofford said. 

Firefighters said when they arrived, flames were already shooting through the roof. No one was able to get to him.

"The fire occurred in the front part of the house where the only entrance to the building was and the man was trapped inside," said Freedom Hill Fire Chief Kevin Smythe

Family members said 76-year-old Gerald Bradford died in the fire. 

They said he was a Navy Veteran and loved cars, but has had limited mobility since a stroke in 2003. 

Crofford said he just wishes he was able to get to him sooner.
"I just couldn't get to the guy that's what makes it disappointing because you can't do nothing for him. And he was in there," he said. 

Firefighters said the man was using portable heaters, but it's not clear if that was the cause.

The state fire marshal is investigating

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