Tahlequah Man Dies In Sunday House Fire

Monday, July 17th 2017, 3:16 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

A Tahlequah man is dead after a fire in his house.

A collapsed roof and scorched furniture are what's left of the home on Bean Street in Tahlequah.

The most significant damage was on the back side of the house, but firefighters said the home is a total loss.

Firefighters said it's likely the victim, who was in his late 50s, was smoking a cigarette in his bed early Sunday morning, starting the fire.

Investigators aren't releasing the man's name until the medical examiner identifies him, but family friend Krystyl Rumery said she knew the man.

"I grew up around him, but I was little," she said. "Not really moments that I can remember, just, like a picture in my head. Just smiles."

Many neighbors said the man kept to himself. Rumery said he always had a smile on his face.

"Just a very happy person, no matter what he went through," she said.

Rumery said since he may not have any family in town, she’s hoping her family will be able to step in and do something in his honor.

"The only family we know of is his brother in Kansas," she said. “My mom will probably want to do something. Really good friends. Maybe a barbecue or something."

Neighbors said the man's dog also died in the fire.

Tahlequah firefighters said the last deadly fire they can remember was in June 2014 when four people died.