A 65-year-old and her dog died in a West Tulsa fire Saturday night.
Firefighters were back in the neighborhood on Monday hoping to prevent another tragedy.
They say the elderly woman had a lot of clutter in the home, making it difficult for her to escape.
It’s a problem they see all of the time and it’s a serious safety issue for neighbors and firefighters.
Tulsa fire crews went door-to-door in West Tulsa installing smoke alarms and talking to neighbors about an escape plan and escape path.
“Any time we begin to clutter up those escape paths, the trip and fall hazard goes up,” said Chief Michael Baker. “When we add that to a situation where we have an elderly person in a home, all the risks of a fire fatality come into place.”
The Tulsa Fire Department’s EMS Chief says hoarding is a huge problem. It’s not easy to fix, but it is easy to spot.
“Get to know your neighbor, and maybe recognize that they don’t have a working smoke detector, there may be some clutter, and just begin to have the conversation with them and then reach out. Reach out to local resources that can correct that problem,” said Baker.
Firefighters say clutter can also fuel the flames, making the fire grow rapidly. It also makes it more difficult for crews to find someone trapped inside and to fight the fire.