4 Injured In Apartment Complex Fire

Thursday, February 8th 2007, 12:39 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa firefighter, a pregnant woman and two other residents were taken to the hospital after a dangerous apartment fire Thursday afternoon.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood reports it was no small task for firefighters, as the building they were trying to save, worked against them.

Thomas Price was at home, getting ready for work when he and his neighbors got the worst possible surprise. "They came knocking on the door. I thought it was the office or something and they came in and told us we had to get out, told us the whole building was on fire and we've got to wait out here."

Dozens of residents flooded into the Somerset East Apartments parking lot near 21st and 137th East Avenue, as fire crews began to fight the flames. "Yeah, man. This whole side, this whole side of the building was on fire, it's no good anymore they say no one else can move in, " said Thomas Price.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in a first floor apartment, but quickly climbed to a second-story balcony and into the attic. Fire crews said in the attic, there was nothing to stop it and the fire quickly spread through the length of the building. With smoke still billowing out of a second-story eave, firefighters didn't extend a ladder "up", but "across." Carefully, they crossed with axes and chainsaws to cut holes in the roof, to find where the fire was still burning. “Trying to get ahead of the fire as it moves down that attic space, you've gotta go down two or three units and try to get access to cut the fire off as it progresses down a very large space," says Tulsa Fire Captain Larry Bowles.

One firefighter was hurt when a slab of sheet rock on the second floor, crashed down on his neck and shoulder. Three residents, including an expectant mother, were taken to the hospital just to be safe.

The Tulsa Fire Department says a dozen apartments suffered fire, smoke or water damage.