Apartment Fire Causes $200,000 In Damage

Friday, February 9th 2007, 11:25 am
By: News On 6

Fire investigators have ruled a fire at a South Tulsa apartment complex accidental. Officials say a discarded cigarette started the fire in an upstairs unit at the Avondale Apartment complex near 71st and Trenton in South Tulsa. The fire started around noon Friday, and took just minutes to spread to the entire upper story of the 16-unit building. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg reports the good news is no one was hurt, but the bad news is a lot of people lost everything.

Sleepy and cold, Sean Fleming stood watching as his apartment burn.

"Somebody came up beating on my door saying the house is burning, everybody get out," he said.

Fleming only had time to escape with the proverbial clothes on his back, and he does not have renter's insurance.

"About a minute ago, I saw my roof go through, so I know my stuff is gone," said Fleming. "I've got some antiques in there and some stuff that my grandma gave me that's no longer here.”

"Right now our crews are actively moving possessions out of these lower apartments to try to salvage and save what we can," said Tulsa Fire Department Captain Larry Bowles.

Bowles says the fire started in an upstairs apartment. Fortunately, the woman in that apartment made it out okay. But Bowles says all the upstairs units shared a common attic.

"That fire broke through the ceiling of that one apartment and got into that attic, quickly spread over a very large area," said Bowles.

Fleming says he's glad his son was at school, so he only had to worry about getting himself out of the apartment. But now he's going to have to break the news to him about the fire.

"His X-box is gone, everything's gone," said Fleming. "I don't know what to do now, but we'll figure something out."

The fire caused $200,000 in damage, authorities said. Apartment officials say they have enough units elsewhere in the complex to take everyone in. The Red Cross told us there's a soldier who lives in the apartments, who's deployed over in Iraq, and probably doesn't know that his apartment was damaged.