Fire Tears Through Tulsa Apartment Building, Investigators Searching For Cause

Wednesday, September 19th 2018, 10:48 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Tulsa fire investigators are working to determine what caused a large fire at the Riverchase Apartments near 81st and Riverside.

The fire burned through an entire building, affecting 16 units.

Firefighters did a sweep of the building, checking for any people inside, but it appears that everyone made it out safely.

They say their goal now is to save what belongings they can and figuring out how the fire started.

Firefighters say a man called 911 when he saw flames coming through the roof.  Firefighters were on the scene quickly and began attacking the fire from inside the building.

“The attic was full of fire,” said Andy Little with the Tulsa Fire Department.  “The fire was through the roof and the District Chief had to call all these crews out to go defensive.”

“There was five fire trucks outside, and everybody was screaming and running around,” recalled Mary Ozment.

9/19/2018 Related Story:  Fire Destroys 16 Units At Tulsa Apartment Complex

Jordan Mckaughan said, “I was driving home and I was really scared, like, ‘Is that my apartment?’  Come to find out, it is not, but I live less than 100 feet away from it.”

Firefighters knocked down the fire in about 45 minutes, but 16 units were severely damaged.

The sweltering heat was also a factor on Wednesday, with two firefighters having to be treated for heat exhaustion.

“Heat is always an issue, especially in temps like this,” said Little.  “It’s something we’re always thinking about.”

The fire was so large that 15 fire suppression crews and two hazmat units, along with Tulsa police and EMSA, were dispatched to the scene.

Neighbors say their thoughts are with those who lost their homes.

“I just started crying because I just think about all the people that live there, and they have nothing now,” said Marissa Whipkey.

Little says, “we always want to do our best to save the citizens’ property.  This is devastating for the families who live here.”

Firefighters say, at this point, the cause is unknown but there was a significant fire in the attic.