Cause of fatal fire in Bixby still under investigation

Monday, June 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The investigation continues into a fire that killed the owner of a Bixby shopping center.

Firefighters were called to the 126 Shopping Center at 8126 E 126th St South early Sunday morning. When they arrived, part of the center was engulfed in flames. The most extensive damage was in a makeshift living quarters. That's where the body of 62-year-old Richard Welcher was found.

Officials say Welcher owned the center and lived in the back. Peggy McMillan a shopkeeper at the center, "He was a very friendly outgoing person. He liked to have fun. He enjoyed people and he took pretty good care of the complex. Sometimes you'd have to ask twice, but he did take care of things for you."

Some stores sustained smoke and water damage. The total lost is estimated at $500,000. So far the cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but five different agencies are investigating to see if arson is to blame.