TFD Rules South Tulsa House Fire An 'Accidental Explosion'

Tuesday, September 13th 2016, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6

Firefighters are still putting out hot spots almost 20 hours after an explosion rocked a south Tulsa neighborhood.

The homeowner said he didn't know what was happening, and firefighters said he’s extremely lucky to be alive.

There’s not much left of the man’s three-story home near 85th and Yale. He said he was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard an explosion.

9/12/16 Related Story: Homeowner, Firefighter Receive Minor Injures At Tulsa House Fire

Investigators have ruled it an accidental explosion. Firefighters say they aren't sure what exploded or even where, but said the fire couldn’t have been much bigger.

Since it appears to be an accident, investigators say the question of what exploded goes to the insurance companies.

The homeowner said the explosion felt like his home was being ripped apart. Neighbors heard and felt it as well.

"The first thing we heard was a boom, it sounded like a bomb had gone off,” said neighbor Paul Strahan.

"The house shook so violently, and it was just one boom - nothing else, just one boom," said neighbor Peggy Caparelli.

Residents of the neighborhood said this is the fourth home destroyed by fire in the last few years.

They all have ended up looking like this one – nearly leveled and almost everything inside destroyed.

Hours after firefighters put out a massive house fire on Vandalia Avenue, smoke continued to rise.

Firefighters say something exploded and the flames spread fast.

It shook Peggy Caparelli's house.

"I thought, ‘oh no, not another one, not another one.’ It was almost more than I could bear,” Caparelli said.

Caparelli said this is the fourth large house to burn down in the neighborhood in the past few years.

Fire destroyed the house across the street but a new one's been built there, and in 2011, two homes next door to each other burned down, one lot still sits empty.

“All of them have been at night, so sleepless nights, but everyone got out okay," she said.

Tulsa Firefighters say it's not a coincidence homes in this neighborhood burn quickly.

“They are large houses to start out with, and the terrain here, there's one way into this area. They are on steep hills, we can approach the front of them,” Tulsa Fire Department Capt. Terry Sivadon said.

Most of the homes in the neighborhood are tall – three or four stories – so if a fire starts below, what’s overhead most likely will all come down. 

"You hate to think this is a jinx on our neighborhood and I hate to think that because I absolutely love it here,” Caparelli said.