2 Dead After Tulsa Church Catches Fire For 2nd Time

Friday, December 6th 2019, 7:04 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

A man and a woman are dead after a fire at a Tulsa church. It's the second time the building has caught fire this year.

Memorial Drive Church of Christ leaders are already dealing with trying to move back in after a fire this summer. Now, there's even more damage to the building.

Crews worked for hours Friday morning on the large building and found two people inside.

"We had over 50 personnel here, so it was a pretty, pretty big incident,” Tulsa Fire Department spokesman Andy Little said.

Tulsa Fire Department drone video shows thermal images, giving firefighters a clear picture of where the heat is concentrated.

Little said that helps keep firefighters safe, especially considering the building was on fire back in July.

"Certainly, the roof will be weaker, and there was a partial collapse during the last fire so that's something that we think about,” Little said.

Firefighters rescued a man and woman from the building who later died at the hospital.

While the medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death, firefighters said both victims suffered from smoke inhalation.

"They were definitely sleeping in there. And this was not a structure that was being open to people for that purpose,” Little said.

Investigators will be back at the scene on Sunday to work on determining the cause of the fire.

The church will continue holding its services at the East Side Christian Church near 15th and Harvard.

The church posted this statement on its Facebook page:

“The Memorial Drive Church of Christ was notified in the early morning hours of a new fire in its previously fire-damaged building. We are heartbroken by reports that two individuals found in our building have died. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to and prayers for their family, friends, and acquaintances. We also extend our profound gratitude and prayers for well-being to the first responders who responded to the fire and bravely rushed inside to try to save those two lives.

We don’t know the cause for today’s fire, which remains under investigation. Since the first fire in July, the building has remained unsafe for any occupation or use and has been sealed and fenced, with appropriate warning signage displayed. While we understand that many in our community need and are seeking shelter, especially this time of year, we strongly urge everyone to obey the warnings and stay out of the building for their own safety.

Thank you all,

- The Memorial Drive Elders”

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