House Fire Claims Catoosa Family's Extensive Antique Collection

Thursday, August 27th 2015, 6:57 pm
By: Tess Maune

A Catoosa home was destroyed in a Thursday morning house fire, but the homeowner said losing the house isn't as hard as losing the countless antiques inside.

Thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of antiques were destroyed, but the family said they're things can be replaced but they're lives can't, so they were thankful Thursday evening.

As flames burned through the roof, Catoosa firefighters tried to salvage whatever they could from an unassuming house that looked like a museum inside.

Victim Rachel Chambers has 22 years of memories in her childhood home, a home decorated wall-to-wall with her dad Mike’s antique collection.

“If you walked in, it kind of was a museum. There was always something going off because some of those antiques really do work, like you can twist them and they still do things,” she said. “He just has a true passion for antiques and he always will, and I don't think this is gonna stop him; if anything he's just gonna be more careful.”

Mike has been a collector for 20 years.

“Oh, I've got one heck of a toy collection or I did have,” he said.

It’s a love that turned into a business. He owns a store in Chouteau, A Time for Antiques, but he loved some of the inventory so much he kept it for himself.

8/27/2015 Related Story: Fire Destroys Catoosa Man's Home, Antique Collection

“Most of it I picked up years ago when I was really first in the business, when you could find that type of stuff,” he said.

A pile of antiques was pulled from the home; some had fire and smoke damage, but most can be restored. Same goes for a train that Rachel and her brothers hold dear to their hearts.

“The metal train that we all rode around on as kids was a big thing that's gonna stick with us,” she said.

Mike’s remarkable gun collection went from the living room to the hood of a pickup truck Thursday morning. Some of the firearms date back to the civil war, others couldn't be found anywhere else in Oklahoma - all of them are now marked by the fire.

In a thunderstorm, family and friends helped clean up what was left - getting Mike's many wood pieces out of the bad weather.

Then, there are the pieces that couldn't be saved - an old wood wall phone, vintage furniture, and so many trinkets it would be impossible to name them all.

“Heartbreaking,” is the only word Rachel had to describe her feelings.

She said it hurts to see her parents’ home and their stuff gone, but they have each other, and Rachel said that's all that matters.

Mike said he has insurance for the home, but not his antique collection.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the laundry room and quickly spread to the attic and roof.

An online fundraiser has been set up to help the Chambers family.