JOY Okla. – A tiny town just south of Wynnewood is mourning the loss of two people who died in a Sunday morning house fire.
State officials said the cause of the deadly fire in the town of Joy can be traced to the back porch.
“Terrible,” neighbor Edward Hudson said of the two deaths. “Terrible. Bad thing.”
Hudson watched the rental house burn around 6 a.m. Sunday, just down the street from his home.
He was hoping firefighters could extinguish the flames quickly but the weather was not helping.
“The wind was blowing strong,” he said. “The firemen would get it down a little bit and it would poof back up, it looked like.”
Murray County Undersheriff Jason Conyer said the victims were 19-year-old Jess Horstman of Elmore City and 19-year-old Kylie Andrews of Blanchard.
“A lot of confusion as far as the people that were in the house,” Conyer said. “(They were) just upset about what took place.”
The Office of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal said five people were staying in the house that morning.
The survivors told officials they smelled smoke earlier but could not locate the source of the smoke before going to bed.
The Fire Marshal’s office eventually determined the smoke was coming from a back porch light.
An electrical wiring malfunction started the fire.
Soon after, two people sleeping in the living room awoke to find curtains on fire.
“First reports were a gentleman was in the living room, woke up and then went throughout the house to wake up the remaining occupants,” Conyer said.
Officials said three people managed to escape through a bedroom window.
The Joy Fire Chief said no smoke detectors were found inside.
“Any early detection is better than none,” Conyer said.
The Joy volunteer Fire Department was helped by Davis, Sulphur and Wynnewood crews.
The Fire Marshal’s office said the fire was ruled accidental but the official cause of death has not been released by the state Medical Examiner’s office.