Wagoner County Boy, 13, Dies In Overnight House Fire
WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma - A teenage boy is dead after a Coweta house went up in flames just after midnight Sunday.
Authorities say a family residence in the 13100 block of South 267th East Avenue was fully engulfed with fire in the early morning hours of June 16.
A family member said there were six people inside the home when the fire started. She said everyone was rushing to get out when the boy, identified by family members as 13-year-old Cody Shanks, got separated from the group.
White ashes and a charred wooden skeleton were all that remained of what was the oldest home on the rural Coweta road Sunday.
Kelsey Vermillion's grandparents lived there.
"I'm still in shock," Vermillion said.
She was back out Sunday afternoon with family, surveying what was left.
"I know there's a picture of the boy that's left, the only thing that didn't get burned," she said.
Shanks was Vermillion's cousin.
"I guess he had just lost his way, and they couldn't get to him in time," she said.
She said the other five people inside made it out safety. She said one of them ran to her home down the road to ask for help, but when Vermillion arrived at the burning home, there was nothing she or anybody could do.
Coweta and Tullahassee firefighters got the boy out of the home, but he was unresponsive, according to Major Gary Handley, of the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office. Paramedics were unable to revive him.
"It was like completely gone, there was nothing left," Vermillion said.
The family thinks the fire started somewhere in the attic above the garage and then worked its way into the living area.
"The whole house was engulfed," said next-door neighbor James Mason.
He said he came outside shortly after the fire started.
He said he saw, "The propane tanks exploding, the gas tank to the car in the garage exploding. Shortly after that, the roof started to collapse."
Mason said he had met the family a few times, and as a father, he hated to hear the news.
Investigators say they found Cody Shanks in his bedroom.
"He loved to joke around, he loved to play, he was fun to hang out with," Vermillion said.
She said the surviving family members will now stay at her home and support one another during this difficult time.
"Just try to be a family, stick together, pray to God and get through it all," Vermillion said.
The Fire Marshal's office said the smoke alarms inside the home did not work. They are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
"Currently Wagoner County Sheriff's investigators are assisting the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal's Office in the ongoing investigation," Handley said.