Niece Remembers Man Killed In Overnight Pawhuska House Fire

Friday, January 18th 2013, 10:18 am
By: News On 6

Pawhuska Fire is investigating a fatal house fire. The state Fire Marshal's Office was notified shortly before 1 a.m. Friday that a man had died in a house fire.

The victim is being remembered for his kindness.

When Pansy Tatum walked outside her house in Pawhuska and saw her uncle's home across the street on fire, her heart sank.

"It's just sad that it took everything," Tatum said.

Tatum's uncle, 47-year-old Tom Deering, was killed in the fire.

Now, she's trying to make sense of the loss.

"It's like, why does the good people have to go?" Tatum said.

She said her uncle, a carpenter and a widower at a young age, lived in the home for 12 years.

"I'm a single mom of six kids, and he helps my daughter all the time. He helps his daughter; she's a single mom with four kids. If we needed anything and told him, even the impossible, he would have did for us," Tatum said.

The fire started in the back bedroom of the house. When firefighters got there it was engulfed in flames.

They were able to keep it from spreading to nearby homes, but Deerings' body was found inside.

"You just hate it, and you do all you can to see if you can save them, and it was too far gone,' said Chief Gip Allen, of Pawhuska Fire Department.

Allen said it's only the second fatal fire in town in the past 15 years.

"It was kind of an older house and it really went up real quick," Allen said.

A cause hasn't been determined."

"He had electrical heaters and an electric blanket, that's what he had to heat with," Tatum said.

The heaters and smoking are both potential causes.

Tatum said Deering will be terribly missed.

"[I feel] sadness and hurt, wishing he could have got out and made it," she said.

Funeral arrangements haven't been finalized yet.