Family, Friends Grieving After Deadly OKC House Fire

Tuesday, March 22nd 2016, 4:31 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Two toddlers were killed in a house fire in Oklahoma City’s northeast side Tuesday morning. As investigators continued to work to find out what caused the fire, friends and family members grieved their loss.

The fire broke out inside the one story home in the 1200 block of NE 47th St. Neighbors said the two boys weren't older than 4-years-old.

First responders were told the boys were in a bedroom in the southeast corner of the house. Crews instead found them inside the bathroom in a different portion of the home. They guessed the toddlers were trying to hide from the flames that eventually took their lives.

“Despite having one of the finest fire response teams in the country, bad things still happen,” Oklahoma City Fire Department Chief Benny Fulkerson.

Fulkerson added the home did not have working smoke detectors and stressed the importance of having a fire escape plan in the home.

3/22/2016 Related Story: Authorities: Two Children Died In Northeast OKC House Fire

Friends and family gathered across the street, some collapsing under the weight of the tragic news. At one point the boys’ father hugged a friend and fell to the concrete driveway across the street. The mother, who was taken to a nearby hospital with minor burns, left on a stretcher sobbing uncontrollably.

Authorities on scene said the mother and grandmother were in the home at the time of the fire. The mother was able to get the wheelchair-bound grandmother to safety, but the flames had engulfed the home making it impossible for her to reach her children when she tried to reenter the home.

“They're asking themselves, ‘Why?...What could they have done to prevent this?’ They're just struggling now,” the family’s pastor Shelby Johnson said. “We'll take this journey with them and go throughout the grieving process with them. We'll take this journey with them however long it takes. “

Fire investigators said the cause of the fire was ruled accidental. The fire started in a bedroom and appeared to have quickly spread to the attic.

The ages and names of the children had not been released. The medical examiner had yet to release the official cause of death.