By Steve Shaw, News 9
STILLWATER, Okla. - A late-night fire claims the life of a man in Stillwater and sadly, it's very possible it could have been avoided.
While we wait for the Medical Examiner to release the man's identity, Stillwater Fire says there doesn't appear to be any signs of foul play. However, there is one factor here that is very common in fatal fires.
"I looked over and when I did I saw flames coming out the sides," said neighbor, Jeff Leggett.
Leggett lives across the street and was the one who dialed 911. He did everything he could, including kicking in the front door.
"A flash of heat hits you in the face, kind of knocks you off your feet for a second. Kind of sends your head a spinning," said Leggett.
The victims' family tells News 9 the man lived here with his two sons. He was disabled and wheelchair-bound. One of the boys, who the family says rarely left his dad's side, had stepped out for less than half an hour. But that's all it took. Firefighters found the victim in a hallway. The family dog also perished in the fire.
Firefighters found two smoke detectors in the home. Unfortunately neither one had a battery in it. Stillwater Assistant Fire Chief Rex Mott says this is a reminder that's painful, yet too common.
"It's always good to remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors in the spring when you change your clocks, and in the fall when you change your clocks as well," said Mott.
Mott says you can buy smoke alarms for as little as $5. And in Oklahoma City, if you have problems with accessibility, firefighters will come to your house and change the batteries for you.