Berryhill Man Dies In Fire Same Day Great Grandchild Is Born

Thursday, January 23rd 2014, 7:02 pm
By: Craig Day

Fire killed an elderly Berryhill man Thursday. It happened at his home on South 57th West Avenue.

The 84-year-old victim was loved by his many grandchildren and great grandkids.

The house was fully engulfed with smoke coming out of the windows and roof when firefighters arrived.

1/23/2014 Related Story: Elderly Man Dies In Berryhill House Fire

The victim's daughter, said the tragedy happened on what normally would have been a day filled with joy.

Just after 10 a.m. on Thursday, Berryhill firefighters arrived at Paul Haws' home of more than 30 years. Tulsa firefighters also responded as mutual aid.

Chief Dale Cooley, of the Tulsa Fire Department, said, "House was pretty well involved and looks like it's most likely going to be a total loss at this point."

But far more painful than losing the home is the loss of someone you love. Paula Fleming's 84-year-old dad died in the fire.

"He's with mom. He's happy now, he missed her so," Fleming said.

Paul Haws had been a widower since his wife passed away seven years ago. Family members say he was a retired concrete finisher who also once owned a pool company. During retirement he enjoyed hobbies like building guitars and racing.

"He loved to race. He was a stock car racer," said Fleming.

He has four surviving children, nine grandkids, and 14 great grandchildren; including Emma Rose, born the morning her great grandfather died.

"He's in a better place I feel. Up there with a lot of those racing buddies, and with mom, probably with a big smile," Fleming said.

Cooley said that by the time he arrived, Berryhill had pulled Haws onto his front porch.

Investigators haven't determined what caused the fire yet, but Haws had health problems and was on oxygen.

"I get a call from the neighbor across the street, he said, ‘Paula I don't know how to tell you this, but your dad's house just blew up. We heard a big explosion and looked over there and it was on fire,'" said Fleming.

She says one of the hardest things about losing her dad, is having to tell all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren about his death.

"They loved their great poppa," Fleming said.

Firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to houses next door.