Family Left Homeless By Fire

Monday, June 25th 2007, 1:46 pm
By: News On 6

Firefighters scramble to save an Okmulgee County town’s heart. Fire erupted in downtown Beggs Monday afternoon. The News On 6’s Chris Wright was in Beggs, he reports firefighters had to overcome a number of obstacles before getting it under control.

Firefighters from all over Okmulgee County raced to save downtown Beggs Monday afternoon.

"All the other buildings around there on the street, that's our tax structure here in the city, and if we lose those the whole city's going to be hurting," Beggs Mayor Rick Mitchell said.

Officials say the fire started in an apartment wall shortly before 1 p.m. It quickly spread to all three apartments in the building.

In addition to the fire, authorities also faced another dilemma, a water main in Beggs broke an hour or so before the fire, meaning the fire department had to cart all its water, and foam, from other towns. By the time the water arrived, the three apartments were already a loss.

The apartment residents are all related, and say six small children lived there. Everyone is okay, but they weren't able to salvage any of their possessions.

"All I have is the clothes on my back, my husband and my kids. We couldn't save anything, nothing at all," said fire victim Patricia Dugger.

The firefighters soon shifted their efforts to preventing the fire from spreading to other downtown buildings. They had some help from Mother Nature in the form of a sudden downpour.

"It started pouring down rain when they couldn't get it out. It was a blessing, wasn't it, from God, I think it was from God," said the fire victim’s relative Pam Doty.

Divine intervention or not, the fire was eventually contained, and Beggs still has a downtown.

"We got really, really lucky on that. We were extremely pleased we were actually able to stop it," Mayor Mitchell said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The family believes an electrical problem started it.

Many of those downtown Beggs buildings date back to the early 20th century, so the town would have lost a lot of its history had the fire not been contained.

Watch the video: Family Picks Up The Pieces After Fire