Tulsa Man Tells Of Narrow Escape From Apartment Fire

Tuesday, December 24th 2013, 1:06 pm
By: News On 6

An accidental fire at a Tulsa apartment complex leaves two families homeless on Christmas Eve.

A second floor apartment at the Highland Park Apartments located near 51st and Yale caught fire late Monday. 

In all, the Tulsa Fire Department rescued four people from an apartment on the third floor just after 10:30 p.m.  

One resident on the third floor used a bed sheet to escape the smoke and flames. Jeff Cox says he took a leap of faith and it saved his life. 

It's an image no one wants to wake up to so close to Christmas Day. 

"I woke up and saw nothing but smoke and I thought, 'Oh Lord what done happened?'" said Jeff Cox. 

Cox lives in the apartment across the hall and one floor up from where the fire broke out.  Because of the thick smoke, Cox couldn't get to his front door so he went out on his balcony. 

"I thought about jumping first, but I knew I probably would have broken something," said Jeff Cox. 

"I said I got to get out of here, so I took a sheet or a comforter that I had on the chair. I grabbed that and I tied it to the corner of the balcony and then kind of slid down and dropped and just hit the ground." 

The Tulsa Fire Department says the cause of the fire was an accident. When firefighters first arrived, they rescued four people from another apartment. 

"There was a deaf family up here," said Jeff Cox.

He believes that may be why the four had a difficult time getting out. 

"It could have been worse. I mean, yeah, most of us are displaced right now, but it could have been worse," said Jeff Cox. 

"Even as I walk in that apartment, I realize it could have been something different because I was asleep. I just happened to have woken up." 

Cox believes it was an act of God that allowed him to get out of his apartment building safely. 

"Hindsight 20/20, I couldn't have done it any different. I don't think the management could have done any different. I don't think the firemen could have done any different. What they did, all of them, probably saved all of us," said Jeff Cox.

Cox was able to get back into his apartment, but the other two families are now homeless on Christmas Eve.

The Red Cross says it is helping those families.