OKLAHOMA CITY — Fire officials say children could be responsible for setting an apartment fire Sunday afternoon that caused extensive damage.
The fire broke out around 3:30 pm at the Madison Village Apartments at 4215 SE 53rd Street.
The fire started in the apartment complex’s laundromat.
When firefighters arrived, they had to take a defensive mode because the pool chemicals are also stored in the same building as the laundromat.
Major Robert Mitchell, with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, said,”We had to stay defensive for a while. We had the chemical room downstairs. We didn’t want to make entry into the building until we made sure everything was safe.”
The building also housed the apartment management office and two apartment units upstairs, one of which was occupied.
Krystal Luse lived in that apartment.
“I was just lucky that we got out in time because I could see the smoke just coming up through our stairs,” she said.
Luse is pregnant with her first child.
She lost everything in the fire.
Luse said, “I seen what was going on and the maintenance man was trying to put it out. And then I ran back upstairs, got my boyfriend, got my dog and just watched it burn, everything.”
Luse says their building had a close call just the day before when she caught some young girls playing with fire.
She said, “They were starting a little fire out by my front door with a magazine. And I smelled smoke so I went down there and I told them to put it out so they put it out.”
On Sunday, Luse says she heard almost the same story from other residents of three young girls up to no good in the laundromat of the apartment complex.
“There were three little girls in there by the trash can and they told them to get out so they got out and then when she went back in to open up the door, smoke was everywhere,” said Luse.
Major Mitchell said, “Some witnesses saw some children run from the scene. We have our arson investigators are out came out and talking to them right now.”
Luse hopes if children are responsible that they realize just how dangerous their actions were and that they learn a lesson.
“Hopefully it’ll teach other kids not to do it because you never know, they could’ve got burnt, got trapped in there as well,” she said.
Luse said the girls she saw were around 10 or 11-years-old.
Arson investigators were interviewing the suspected children and their parents Sunday night.