Tulsa apartment fire early Friday sends 2 to the hospital

Friday, November 25th 2005, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

Five Tulsa families are without a place to stay after a Friday morning apartment fire damages part of an east Tulsa apartment complex.

One of the victims, an elderly woman, is in critical condition. It started at about 8 AM Friday at the Ridgeview Apartments near 7th and Mingo. The News on 6's Heather Lewin has the story.

” I was lying down and I smelled some smoke and I opened the door and it was all on fire. So I got outta there. I told my kids, get out, we gotta get out." Sabrina Thompson made it out, but feared her elderly neighbors didn't. She says she wanted to help, but there was nothing she could do. “I came out and I saw the front was on fire and then I went to the back and it was completely on fire, like it blew up and I ran."

Thompson's father was walking outside with his morning coffee, when he saw the fire. Billy Johnson: "I just looked out the door and all I could see was smoke."

Relieved his family was safe, he and his daughter watched and waited for news of the neighbors.

"No, they're not okay." A 55-year old woman made it out and told firefighters her 71-year old mother was still inside the burning apartment. Rescuers crawled in to save her. Tulsa firefighter Johnnie Sawyer: "I found her lying down on her back. I picked her up and dragged her out with a couple other firefighters' help. Got her outside and she was still breathing.” Breathing, but badly burned, both her and the 55-year old woman were rushed to the hospital.

Thompson is grateful her family had time to escape. "We were just waking up! Just waking up, it was good I did."

Tulsa Fire Captain Duane Golden: "Definitely have working smoke detectors in your house; the smoke detector saved these people's lives today.”

Investigators say a still burning cigarette in the trash can sparked the fire. The fire caused about $50,000 in damage.