Tulsa Firefighters: Space Heater May Have Caused Deadly House Fire

Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

Firefighters are still investigating the cause of a deadly fire in northwest Tulsa.

It first started Monday evening, then re-ignited early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters say the freezing temperatures made the fire difficult to fight. Fire crews said, when they sprayed the house with water, the water froze, making it nearly impossible to reach hot spots under the ice.

All that's left of the house is its charred frame.

"It just really freaks you out, you know," said neighbor Cody Bailey.

Tulsa firefighters were called to the house Monday evening. When they arrived, flames had already taken over two-thirds of the home.

Crews tried to fight it from the inside, but the heat was too much.

"The house was so far involved in fire that they had to pull out and go to defensive operations from the exterior of the structure," said Tulsa Fire District Chief Jeremy Moore.

Once the flames were extinguished, firefighters found a person inside the home. They tried to revive the victim, but it was too late.

1/14/2013 Related Story: Cause Of Deadly Tulsa House Fire Under Investigation

"It just makes your heart sink. Someone lost their life in it," Bailey said.

Bailey lives just down the street from the burned house.

"I've never seen anyone come or go. I've seen a car come and go, but I've never actually seen who lived here," he said.

The crew who responded to this fire fought two other fires earlier in the day.

They say both of those were caused by people trying to stay warm and that may have also caused this fire.

"Those appliances are working overtime right now, because of the extreme cold temperatures, and we want to make sure all of our citizens are safe," Moore said.

The deadly fire has Bailey thinking twice about how he keeps warm.

"For a little bit, we were freaked out. My roommate was freaked out," he said. "We went around and turned our space heaters off and whatever we could, just as a precaution."

It scared Bailey even more when he woke up to the howl of his neighbor's home on fire yet again.

The fire rekindled about eight hours after crews initially put it out.

"We were in bed and come out and there were flames coming out the roof of their house," Bailey said.

The medical examiner has not released the name of the victim.

Investigators say, while they don't know the exact cause yet, they believe the fire started in an area of the home where a space heater was being used.