A man is dead after a fire started in the living room of his Broken Arrow home. Firefighters say the house was without power and the man had been staying with friends, but The News On 6's Carina Sonn reports he decided to return home on Wednesday night.
David Thayer says he lived next to the 51-year-old victim for 14 years.
"If everyone would take a little time and check on their neighbors a little more," said David Thayer.
The man who died had multiple sclerosis and, on occasion, needed help doing tasks around his home. Fire officials say most likely, the victim was just trying to stay warm when the fire started.
"Because there is no power to this neighborhood, we have every reason to believe that there was some sort of alternative heating that was trying to be utilized," said Greg Neely with the Broken Arrow Fire Department.
Thayer says the neighborhood lost power early Monday morning. The victim had been staying with friends until Wednesday night.
"Really wanted to come home and he was going to go buy a generator and come home. So the generator is still in the back of his van, he wasn't physically capable of unloading a generator by himself," said neighbor David Thayer.
Crews were on a separate carbon monoxide call when a passerby alerted them to the fire. They arrived on scene to find smoke coming from the house. Firefighters found the victim just inside the door. They say the whole house suffered smoke and heat damage, but the living room was engulfed in flames. Officials say they don't want the ice storm and power outages to claim any more lives.
"Our biggest concern with the public is any unattended flames, candles, fire places. We've been, like all fire departments, running on a lot of different situations," said Broken Arrow Firefighter Clark Bolding.
Thayer says he'll miss the man that was so generous to those around him.
"He would always offer to help me with anything with my children that he could help with. He had a pool in his backyard, and he would always let the neighbors use his pool because he wasn't capable of it. He was a great person. A really great person," said neighbor David Thayer.
The home had a smoke detector, but firefighters aren't sure if it was working.