Two Overnight Tulsa Fires Possibly Caused By Squatters

Tulsa firefighters put out two fires at vacant structures where it's believed homeless people were squatting.

Saturday, October 4th 2014, 10:44 am

By: Dee Duren


Tulsa firefighters put out two fires at vacant structures where it's believed homeless people were squatting.

A passerby reported seeing smoke in the area of 51st Street North and North St. Louis Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Captain Tim Lopez, Tulsa Fire Department, said the house was fully involved when they got on scene. The fire was in the attic which made it harder to fight, but they got it out in about 20 minutes.

Flames melted a neighbor's siding but firefighters kept the fire from spreading. They also had to keep people from behind the house where an active power line melted and fell.

"The house probably going to be a significant loss most of the roof is gone on the east side of the structure. But there were no injuries," he said.

Lopez said utilities to the home had been shut off, but it appeared that homeless people had been staying there. Investigators weren't sure if that's what started the fire.

An earlier fire took place at and around a shed on a large lot in the 10800 block of East 11th Street.

Firefighters were called out at about 2 a.m., according to Captain-In-Training Johnny Rutledge. Rutledge said the metal shed plus surrounding grass and trees were on fire when crews arrived.

They had to saw through a chain on a shed's door to get the fire out. A police officer at the scene said there was a gap at the front gate of the lot where it looked like people had entered, and he believed the fire was was most likely caused by homeless people trying to stay warm.

Fire investigators say there were no utilities to the shed. They are still investigating.

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