Arson Victims Discover A Welcome Surprise In The Rubble

Saturday, April 21st 2007, 9:01 pm
By: News On 6

Fire marshals are hunting for a suspect who set nine different fires near LaFortune Park this month. The Tulsa Fire Department told The News On 6 it is narrowing its field of suspects, but they still will not say if they're looking at a group of arsonists, or a single suspect.

The fires started April 4th when the fence at the Barcelona apartments went up in flames. A week later, it was the dumpster behind the Southern Hills Memory Loss Center. The morning after that the arsonist set fires in three different apartments at the Barcelona apartment complex. Twenty-four hours later, on April 12th, the arsonist torched a van and another unit at the 5400 Apartments. The arsonist has not set a fire since, and investigators are glad the fires have stopped, but at the same time that makes their job harder. Apartment complexes in the area have hired private security, which may have spooked the suspect making catching him in the act next to impossible.

The News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports in the meantime, dozens of families are picking up the pieces after losing everything in those fires; including one family who is finding new hope among the ashes.

It was three months ago that Reverend Kristine Maulden was packing up everything her family owned to move to Tulsa. Now, it all fits in a laundry basket. Her apartment at the Barcelona burned on April 4th. The family's furniture and clothing were destroyed, but the biggest loss to Kristine's two sons were the family's pets.

"We had two birds, and a couple of cats, and the cats died. One of them might of escaped but we're not sure," said the Reverend Kristine Maulden.

It was a week later, and Kristine returned to sift through the ashes one last time, and from underneath a burned bed she heard a familiar feline, it was the family cat Moonshine. Singed and smoky, the Maulden’s mostly-white cat was a little gray, veterinarians treated burns to her legs and paws but she was otherwise okay. Unfortunately Moonshine's mother and brother died in the fire, but her adopted family is jumping for joy to have her home, and she's happy to be held once again by the people who love her.

"It definitely helps because anything that came out of the fire is doubly precious, so having one kitty come back is a doubly precious thing,” Maulden said. “And it does go so far to bringing closure to a very unhappy event."

It will be a while before the traumatized tabby is tumbling around with the two Maulden boys, but one thing's for sure, Moonshine will use one of her eight lives left to make the two little boys' lives a little happier.

"It's a definite healing factor that we have. We feel really blessed," said the boys father Anthony Maulden.

Blessed they have living proof miracles still happen.

The Mauldens say they've also been blessed by the people of Tulsa and their church, Trinity Episcopal. The Mauldens were only staying in the Barcelona apartments until they could find a house. The fire sped up that timeline and Kristine and her husband Anthony made an offer on a house on Sunday.

Related stories:

4/11/2007 Multiple Fires Damage Apartment Complex

4/12/2007 Firefighters One Step Behind An Arsonist

4/12/2007 Arsonist Strikes Again