Tulsa apartment fire leaves families homeless

Wednesday, November 23rd 2005, 5:46 am
By: News On 6

Several families are suddenly homeless just one day before Thanksgiving, after a fire swept through their Tulsa apartment complex Tuesday night.

It started in a downstairs unit at at the Stone Ridge Apartments in the 2500 block of East 88th Street. The people inside made it out safely and went back Wednesday to pick up the pieces. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin has their story.

Michelle Skelton: “I saw a light reflect off of the wall, I just knew in my heart it was fire." Emery Skelton: “the whole house was caught by smoke." So thick Michelle Skelton and her children had to crawl on the floor, feeling their way out.

Michelle says she left a candle burning inside a jar on a table, went into the other room, and in a matter of moments nearly everything she owned was destroyed. The family had tried to stop the spread of the flames. Emery Skelton: “It got on the bed and the bed caught fire. We were bringing in bowls of water trying to put it out but it wouldn't go out." Michelle: "I tried stomping on it, I tried laying on it." But nothing worked.

Michelle was surprised, being so close to the fire, that she wasn't hurt. “I think God just put this big plastic bubble over me and I was wiping fire off. And nothing happened. There's nothing wrong with me." Emery: "God was protecting her." And one of the boys, who ran back into the burning aparment to rescue the family dog.

Rather than ruining the holidays, Skelton says she's now even more thankful. Michelle: "You know, I have my family, and this stuff that can be replaced, every bit of that stuff, even though it meant a lot to me, it can still be replaced. We're gonna make it, we're gonna make it."

The Skeltons are just one of several families affected by the fire. While some are staying with relatives, others are being housed by the Red Cross at a Tulsa hotel.