Five Years After Fire, Tulsa Woman Dies From Injuries
TULSA, Oklahoma - An innocent woman severely injured nearly five years ago in a fire caused by a meth lab has died from the lasting effects of those injuries.
The fire at Tulsa's Royal Arms apartment complex spread to several apartments.
The man responsible for the fire is in prison, and one of the victims, Nikki Cain, has been in a nursing home.
She died Monday evening.
Nikki Cain was critically injured in that March 2009 fire.
Since then, family members say it was like she was trapped inside her body.
For nearly five years, 1,764 days, Nikki Cain was either in a hospital or nursing home.
Day after day, someone, once so energetic and vibrant, who enjoyed activities like kickboxing, was confined to a bed, on a feeding tube, unable to talk.
Any response to others came with arm gestures, or sometimes tears.
Deborah Morris, Cain's cousin, said, "I felt like she always knew me when I went because she would always get those hands up or smile, or cry, she had emotions."
Deborah Morris cared for her cousin Nikki Cain, who, at 55, suffered brain damage from smoke inhalation when the Royal Arms apartments caught fire.
"She was actually dead when they brought her out," Morris said.
Two others died in the fire that spread to several units.
Mark Roberts was cleared of two murder counts and an arson charge in the case.
He was only convicted of making or trying to make meth, which resulted in the fire.
"Well it was just an act of a stupid individual really," Morris said. "I mean why does any of it happen. People get on drugs and they don't take anyone else into consideration."
Based on previous felony drug convictions, Roberts got a life sentence.
The remainder of Nikki Cain's life was far worse than prison.
"I would leave there many times and just come home and cry," said Morris.
She says one of the hardest parts was updating her cousin's condition to Nikki's mother, who was 90 when the fire happened.
A private family burial will be held.
Cain's family is also planning something special to do in her honor on March 9th, the day the fire happened in 2009.
"She was defenseless, helpless. It was sad," Morris said.