Tulsa Firefighters: House Fire May Have Saved Owner's Life

Wednesday, December 31st 2014, 7:55 pm

It was a fire that may have actually saved the homeowner's life according to firefighters.

A house erupted in flames Wednesday morning in north Tulsa, across the street from Mohawk Park. A portable kerosene heater – meant for bigger, open spaces - is being blamed.

Even without the fire, firefighters said the homeowner is lucky to be alive.

A few hours before the sun came up on New Year's Eve, a fire had ignited the north Tulsa sky. As the flames burned brightly, firefighters were forced to watch at first - the closest hydrant malfunctioned.

12/31/2014 Related Story: Space Heater Could Be To Blame For House Fire Near Mohawk Park, TFD Says

Firefighters said the backup water supply was blocks away, so they had to use three trucks and 2,500 feet of hose to get water to the house.

That's something District Chief Bryan Hickerson said is extremely unusual and difficult.

“That hampers our work here on the scene because you've got so many people allocated to establishing water supply,” he said.

On top of fighting the flames, the firefighters were also battling below freezing temperatures.

“You've got ice. I've noticed some of these guys have got ice on their face shield, ice on their bunker gear, it's tough to work in,” said Hickerson.

The firefighters are clearly tough, but also tender-hearted; pulling the homeowner's two dogs away from the fire to safety as their owner was carried away on a stretcher.

“He's received treatment from hypothermia, he was outside without enough clothes on to keep him warm,” Hickerson said.

Firefighters said the man was trying to heat his home with a kerosene heater when the fire started.

They said the fire might have actually saved the man's life; if it hadn't sparked, it's possible, they say, the exhaust from the heater could have caused fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.

Thankfully, despite a home destroyed, it ended the way it did.

“The homeowner made it out okay, pets all made it out okay, so it's a good day,” said Hickerson.

The homeowner was taken to the hospital with minor burns and mild hypothermia, but is expected to be okay.

As for the faulty hydrant, when firefighters completed their annual inspection it was in working order. They're looking into what went wrong and said it should be fixed within 24 hours.