Neighbors Horrified As 15-Month-Old Boy Dies In West Tulsa Duplex Fire

Thursday, November 10th 2011, 7:51 am
By: News On 6

Editors Note: An earlier version of this story reported the age of the victim to be 9-months of age, as stated by authorities. But News On 6 has confirmed the actual age of the child was 15-months. This new information has been updated in the following story.

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa firefighters found the body of 15-month-old boy in a back bedroom of a duplex damaged by fire early Thursday. 

The fire was so intense firefighters had to wait to begin a search of the building. Tulsa Fire got the alarm just before 6 a.m. in the 1400 block of West Admiral.

Firefighters went in the front door, but were forced back out because of the intensity of the fire.

Neighbors watched in horror -- knowing that a baby was trapped inside with no way out.

Four people escaped the burning duplex, including a mother -- hysterical, because her 15-month-old was in grave danger.

"She was just hollering, 'My baby's inside! My baby's inside!'" Said Fred Pace, neighbor.

Firefighters saw nothing but a sea of orange flames in the back bedroom. They put out the fire, but couldn't rescue the boy in time.

"You never feel like it's a success whenever it ends like this. But they did the very best," said Asst. Tulsa Fire Chief Mike Bailey.

"I saw the ambulance load the body bag and all that. Both of us broke down into tears because of the infant. That's horrible," said Gary McGrady, neighbor.

Neighbors say words can't describe how they feel, or what they saw next.

"It was getting going. It was growing faster," said Tulsa Fire Cpt. Gerry Benefield.

The terrible tragedy left neighbors wishing they could have saved the boy.

"If I had known that baby was there, you bet I would have," said Gary McGrady, neighbor.

The connecting duplex sustained smoke and water damage.  Two people who lived in that portion of the duplex made it out safely. 

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the deadly fire.