Four confirmed dead after Oklahoma City house fire
Wednesday, March 2nd 2005, 6:35 am
News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A fire at two-story home where a family of eight lived burned early Wednesday, killing four members of the family, including two teenage girls, a teenage boy and an elderly man, firefighters said.
Noy Malilay, 14, and Felix Malilay, 86, were found inside the home and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Maj. Brian Stanaland.
Phe Malilay, 13, and Carol Ann Malilay, 14, were pulled from the burning home and taken to area hospitals where they died a short time later, Stanaland said.
Two others pulled from the house, Jerry Malilay, 35, and Ya Chamsonbath, 94, remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday at Baptist Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. A third person, Deng Malilay, escaped the home by using an outside staircase. She was rescued with no serious injuries.
A 15-year-old boy who also lived at the house was not at home, Stanaland said.
The fire was reported at 1:11 a.m. Stanaland said, and firefighters arrived within five minutes.
"When we pulled up on the scene, the whole downstairs floor was completely engulfed in fire."
Wednesday afternoon, a few flower bouquets were laid in front of the home, where a patch of melted vinyl siding hung from the second floor and smoke stains appeared on the yellow bricks.
Felix Malilay's son-in-law, Mike Keefe, stood in front of his home with neighbors and family members in this working-class neighborhood, just a few doors down from where several of his relatives lost their lives.
"I'm just sad for the loss," Keefe said. "A worse incident couldn't have happened to a better family."
Keefe said Felix Malilay emigrated to the United States from the Philippines and worked hard to save money to bring other family members here.
"Felix came to the U.S. to make a better life for his family. He did anything to make enough money to bring his family over."
Keefe said he's thankful there weren't more family members killed in the blaze.
"At any one time, there are many more people that could have been there. It just depends on the day," he said. "The family was 35 strong ... so it could have been much worse."
Two factors contributed to the victim's inability to escape the burning home.
"No smoke alarm was found anywhere in that house, that was problem number one," Stanaland said. "Number two, just about every window had burglar bars, even upstairs."
Bedroom windows on the bottom floor of the home were broken from the inside, and blood could be seen on one of the window sills.
"I would assume they tried to bust out the window," Stanaland said. "If those burglar bars aren't there, they would most likely have been able to get out."
A bill to require newly installed burglar bars to have a mechanism that allows them to be opened from the inside was passed by the state House earlier this week. The bill was drafted after the deaths of six people in an Oklahoma City house fire in September.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but investigators have found no reason to believe the fire suspicious, Stanaland said.
He estimated the damage to the house at $75,000.