Dozens In Tulsa Pick Up Pieces After Fires Destroy Apartments

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 8:57 pm
By: News On 6

Two fires in four days destroyed an entire building and left dozens homeless in south Tulsa.

Residents at Balboa Park Apartments could only watch on Saturday morning as most of their belongings went up in flames.

The first fire happened Tuesday afternoon, completely gutting the two apartments on the end.

Eight more were damaged by smoke and water, and many residents say they were still cleaning up from that fire when the second one broke out.

"I ran downstairs outside, and that whole roof was on fire," Lachinda Oliver said.

Oliver and her son called 911 after smelling smoke around 4 a.m. The two immediately jumped into action - returning the favor that was done for them Tuesday afternoon.

"I was worried I wouldn't be able to hit all the doors and get everybody up," Oliver said.

8/31/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Apartment Complex Burns Twice In Four Days

Now, for the second time in less than a week, construction crews are back boarding up the soggy, smoky remains of the units, as people like Amy Jasmin try and figure out what can be saved.

"It's like, ‘Oh my God, there is everything going up in flames,'" Jasmin said.

Jasmin and her sister had almost gotten rid of the smoke smell from the first fire when flames from the second one reached their home.

Officials said both fires started on the same end and that there wasn't a fire wall in the building.

"I could hear the crackling in the walls," Jasmin said.

She says other than a few clothes and a box of memories, everything was lost, including her paintings.

"Now I have this fear of living in apartments that I never had before," Jasmin said.

No one was injured in the fire, but all 16 apartments in the building were left in unlivable shape.

"When I saw that the ceiling had fallen in and I smelled the smoke damage, I lost it," Laura Booth said.

8/27/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Firefighters Save Pets From Fire At Balboa Park Apartments

Booth's home was damaged in the first fire that officials believe was started accidentally by a cigarette.

The second fire gutted her home.

"Right now, it's just trying to get everything together and try to figure out where we're going to go," Booth said.

Tenants are getting help from the Red Cross as they salvage their belongs and try and find a place to stay.

At this point, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.