Candle Blamed For Fatal Fire

Wednesday, December 12th 2007, 8:12 am
By: News On 6

A man died on Wednesday in Tulsa's second fatal fire linked to the ice storm. This one started from a candle left burning in a unit at the Saddlebrook Apartments. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the fire department is responding to far more calls than usual, and many of them are because of people trying to light and heat their homes.

The fire burned out four apartments, left some others damaged by smoke. One man was killed and five other people, including a firefighter were hurt. Four apartments were burning when firefighters arrived and the neighbors reported several people might be trapped inside.

Some of the people who lived there are disabled. Their family members were trying to get help for them and save themselves as well.

"And we couldn't get this lady to jump, so we finally got her to go over the banister and she jumped and we caught her," said Dwight Coleman.

When the neighbors heard glass breaking, some of them ran out in the cold, barefoot, knocking on the doors and rescuing several people.

Dennis Struble was the first neighbor who responded to the fire.

"And I ran down there barefoot, kicked the door in, burned my hands, fire hit me in the face, heard someone screaming and thought it was the people upstairs so I thought they were so I came back and broke the windows out and so we went from there down to here, trying to get people out," said Struble.

Despite the efforts, not everybody made it out. Firefighters searched the still burning building and found a 68-year-old man inside the apartment where the fire started. Four other people made it out with smoke injuries, and two of them were seriously hurt.

"An elderly woman dropped out of that window, people on the ground caught her and a guy jumped out of the window and sort of landed on his shoulders," said Alan Kovac.

One of the firefighters was treated for 2nd degree burns. The fire department had investigators at the scene, looking for the origin of the fire, which they believe was a candle being used for emergency lighting.

Watch the video: Candle Leads To Fatal Fire