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House fire claims the life of 49-year old Tulsan

An early morning fire in North Tulsa claims the life of a homeowner. 49-year-old Robert Baggett's was found dead in his home after a fire broke out around 5 AM Thursday.

News on Six reporter Patrina Adger says the cause of the fire has been confirmed. A space heater in the living room was apparently too close to a couch and caught fire. Robert Baggett slept on that couch but was able to alert the 2 other occupants who made it out safely, but the 49-year-old man did not. Flames were shooting out of the house on East Archer, that's when Terry Lackey one of the four people living there walked up to see the house engulfed in flames, and Robert Baggett yelling for help. "I noticed the smoke and another lady in the house was out back, but the flames were intense, there was nothing they could do, you know."

Baggett alerted the 2 other occupants who got out safely, but Baggett was trapped inside. Judith Nichols lives in the neighborhood and woke up to Baggett's shouts for help. "I ran out and I said someone call 911 and no one would so I came I here and then I came back out and the flames were just shooting right out of that house. And one man who lived there he broke out of the window, the woman living there went out the backdoor screaming."

It took firefighters 20 minutes to put out the flames. They discovered Baggett's body on the kitchen floor. The exact cause of his death is not yet known. Tulsa Fire Department Captain Hubert Rouse says Baggett might have had more time to escape if the smoke detectors had been were working. "They weren't even workable not even if you put a battery in them, not maintained the way they should."

Rouse says 75% of homes have smoke detectors but only 40% of those actually work. "If you don't have a smoke detector if you are elderly, you call Tulsa Fire Department. We'll be glad to send someone out and check it for them.” Damage is estimated to be around $40,000.

The Tulsa Fire Department went door-to-door Thursday in this neighborhood, handing out smoke detectors and batteries and making sure they work properly.

The Red Cross is assisting the two other people who escaped the fire with a hotel room and food vouchers.
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