Tulsa Church, Other Sites Hit By Suspected Arsonist

Thursday, June 1st 2017, 6:35 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa fire investigators are looking for a person they believe set seven different fires Wednesday night.

Investigators said the fires were set within a mile of each other in a three-hour span.

6/1/2017 Related Story: Person Of Interest Sought In Seven Tulsa Arsons

At the edge of a west Tulsa neighborhood, a small church opened Thursday to vent out the smoke. The little church was the target of an arsonist, but the fire was reported before much damage was done.

“Oh yeah, it could have taken the whole place, we're thankful there, blessed,” said Pastor Zelenda Blancett.

Someone rolled a trash cart over and set it on fire right beside the old wood frame building. Now there's no power, and no money to make quick repairs.

“Just thought if anyone would like to help us, we need lights and an electrician and funds are low. We're just reaching out,” Blancett said.

The church was the second fire in a string of them within a few hours Wednesday night. Some were larger fires, like a house near Charles Page and 65th West Avenue. It, like the others, was unoccupied but firefighters didn't know that without a search inside.

Two firefighters came away with minor injuries.

5/31/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Firefighter Injured At One Of Six Suspicious Overnight Fires

Firefighters were running from one fire to the next, some just blocks from the other.

Tulsa Assistant Chief Stacy Belk said, "We ended up having this house, a car behind this in a field beside it, and the house down the street all on fire at the same time."

In daylight, the damage was more clear - houses burned out that will need to be demolished.

“I stepped out on my porch and it was pretty well going when they were unloading,” neighbor Willie Hutson said.

The arsonist was done by 1 a.m.

Investigators said they have good witnesses and believe they know who it was, but they need to find him before he strikes again.

If you have any information, fire investigator ask you to call the Arson Hotline at 918-596-2776.