Father Injured Trying To Rescue Disabled Son In Fatal Sapulpa House Fire

Monday, December 10th 2012, 12:24 pm
By: Dee Duren, Emory Bryan

A Sapulpa house fire killed a man with severe arthritis, authorities tell News On 6. His father was injured in a rescue attempt.

The victim has been identified as 44-year-old Matthew D. Locust.

The Sapulpa Fire Department says the fire started at about 10:30 a.m. Monday in a two-story house near 61st Street South and 46th West Avenue.

Witnesses said the flames were higher than the treetops and firefighters reported 80% of the house was involved when they arrived.

The fire started on the second floor of the two story house.

Before the fire department arrived, neighbors tried to reach a 44-year-old disabled man who was trapped on the upper floor.

His father had been burned trying to save him.

"He said his son was in there and me and a friend of mine tried to run in there and go to the stairs, and by the time we got in there was too much flame, too much smoke. We had to get back out of there," said neighbor Tony Oldham.

On the other side of the burning house, Jimmy Kane saw the victim on a balcony, before he was surrounded by fire and smoke.

"About the time we looked out, flames were coming out the windows and it took it over real fast," Kane said.

Firefighters worked hard to beat back the flames, but said it was too intense for them to get inside.

"The fire was way too advanced. We couldn't make a rescue," said Sapulpa Fire Department Assistant Chief David Taylor.

Family members gathered at the scene as investigators started the work of determining the cause.

The family identified the victim as Matthew Day Locust, who they say was disabled with arthritis and likely trapped because of it.

"I get here and they say it started in the top floor, where my uncle was staying, and it got him first and it just engulfed the house," said Jason Locust.

Family members said the victim's father, William Day Locust, was injured trying to save his son.

"That's why he has the burns, he tried to run upstairs to save him, I guess, and he got the burns on his arms and his face," Jason said.

The fire was largely under control by noon. The cause of the fire is unknown.