'Nuisance' Building Catches Fire In Downtown Tulsa

Friday, October 15th 2010, 7:33 am
By: News On 6


TULSA, Oklahoma -- Two Tulsa firefighters were taken to the hospital after a fire broke out at the old Tulsa Club building downtown, 5th and Cincinnati.

Firefighters were called to the building just before 3 a.m. Friday as smoke and flames billowed out from the upper floors.

The blaze was mostly contained to the ninth floor, but there was slight damage throughout the building, according to Tulsa Firefighter Tim Smallwood. It took an hour and half to get it out.

4/14/2010 Related Story: Fire Extinguished Inside Boarded Up Downtown Tulsa Club

There were more than 50 firefighters at the scene; using the tallest trucks the department has to shoot water into the top floor.

"There's a lot of trick and turns in here, open elevator shafts and holes in floors and that makes it a pretty dangerous job, especially at night when you cannot see," Smallwood said.

Two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. One of the two also twisted an ankle. They've since been released from the hospital and are okay.

This isn't the first time the old Tulsa Club building has caught fire. Back in April of this year, firefighters had to put out three fires in just eight days.

In the last decade the building has turned into a constant nuisance for the City of Tulsa, mainly because it's not secure and people crawl inside and sometimes start fires.

The fire department believes that's how the fire started Friday morning, but they haven't said that officially.

Wednesday, Judge Deborah Shallcross ruled against Tulsa Club owner C.J. Morony in a case regarding Morony's failure to address Tulsa Club nuisance issues.

The California-based Morony is being fined daily for failing to address the issues. Total fees so far add up to over $350,000.

City code enforcement has taken additional steps to board up windows and keep people out.

The City of Tulsa filed suit against the owner of the building in November of 2007, after repeated violations of city code and unpaid expenses the City incurred to secure the building.

In 2008, the City was granted a default judgement of $331,000. After two years in court, a decision this week resulted in a final judgement for the owner to pay the original fine and interest, which now totals $385,000.

The City of Tulsa has a lien on the property for that amount, which will be recovered if the building is sold. Realtor Jeffrey Scott has a sale contract on the building for $1.1 million. Attempts to reach Scott about his plans were unsuccessful.

City of Tulsa attorney Bob Edmiston told the News on 6 if the building is not sold, the City will foreclose and the case would go into court next February. Edmiston said the owner of the Tulsa Club also owns the Sinclair Building downtown.