Father Remembers Kids, Ex-Wife Lost In OKC House Fire
OKLAHOMA CITY - A heartbroken dad remembers his four children and ex-wife, all killed in a fire the morning after Christmas.
Matthew Leon and his wife never thought a worst nightmare would come true.
"We all had Christmas together and opened presents, played, ate a bunch of food," said Leon.
He and his wife went home, leaving their daughter Kara with her older brother and sisters at Jeanine Bonnet's house with her and her boyfriend, like many times before. They all wanted the kids to spend time together, especially during Christmas.
"[Jeanine] was a good mom. She'd give them whatever she could," explained Leon. "She did everything she could for them. She'd bend over backwards to go out of the way to spoil them."
Wednesday morning, the couple got a call from Leon's mom, who said there had been a fire at Bonnet's house.
"I thought everybody was okay. I thought we'd get up there, we'll board it up and fix it," recalled Leon.
Jeanine Bonnet, Samantha, Natalie, Matthew Jr. and Kara Leon were asleep upstairs when, according to firefighters, a space heater caught on fire engulfing the entire house. Bonnet's boyfriend Brian was downstairs and tried to save them.
"He about killed himself trying to save them. I went over there today and I saw the ladder that he climbed on the back of the house to try to save them to get them out of their window, and it's melted on one side completely melted on one side," explained Leon.
The fire burned him over 33% of his body while on that ladder trying to get into the kids' second story bedroom. Unfortunately it was too late.
"I gotta try to think of them in the happy ways, you know? Taking them riding and try to remember the happier things."
Firefighters said there were no working smoke detectors inside the house when the space heater caught fire.
A fund has been set up to help Matthew Leon and his family pay for funeral costs for Jeanine Bonnet and the four children. Donations can be sent to the Matthew Leon Children's fund at Bank of Oklahoma locations.
A fund is also being set up to help pay for Brian's medical bills. He was burned trying to save the children and his girlfriend.