Air Conditioner Causes Early Morning House Fire In OKC

Thursday, August 9th 2012, 9:57 am
By: News 9

An air conditioning unit causes an early-morning house fire in Oklahoma City.

Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Floyd Thompson returned home and said he smelled smoke and felt heat coming from inside his home in the 1600 block of N.E. 25th Street.

The first engine on the scene reported heavy smoke coming from the attic. Firefighters were able to quickly knock this fire out.

Firefighters think an electrical malfunction within an air conditioning unit on the outside of the house started a fire that quickly spread.

Major Tony Tompkins from the Oklahoma City Fire Department told News 9 that firefighters "had to go to a transitional attack and knock down some of the fire before they made entry."

Fire crews were able to enter Thompson's home and save half of his personal belongings.

Thompson stayed overnight to protect his home from looters, but he wasn't alone. Thompson's neighbor, Bryant Demery, also stayed with him.

Demery refused to let the 81-year old stay alone to protect his property. Together they guarded the home until daylight and were able to secure the house.

"I go back to my mom and dad. Home training. It's just how I was brought up," Demery said.

Thompson expressed his appreciation for his neighbor during his time of need and wishes more neighbors were like Demery.

"We've gotten away from that."

Thompson's wife was also gone when the fire started. She recently underwent surgery and is staying at the couple's daughter's home in Oklahoma City.

The Thompsons do have insurance and plan to rebuild in the home they've stayed in for more than 50 years.

The U.S. Fire Administration says 86% of all air conditioner fires in a home are caused by mechanical failure or malfunction. Half of these are from short circuits and that's what investigators think may have happened with this fire. Also, air conditioner fires typically happen from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the period when the demand for air conditioning is at its peak.

Product maintenance, routine inspection, and having a smoke alarm help reduce the number of A/C fires.