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Three-alarm fire burns man’s memories of late wife

OKLAHOMA CITY – Robert Neal is picking up the pieces of what is left of his home after a three-alarm fire.

It happened in the 1600 block of N.W. 32nd St. near 30th St. and Penn. Ave.

It started in Neal’s detached garage but soon spread to the back of his house and another neighbor’s garage.

Kwinton Storme lives nearby.

“We went outside and the whole garage was completely engulfed,” he said.

Neighbors first noticed the smoke and the flames and jumped into action; without their quick thinking and helping hands, it could have been much worse.

Laura lives across the street from Neal.

“I looked out my window and realized it was a fire and ran over to wake him up and get him out of the house,” she said.

“I called 911 and my roommate ran over there and woke him up,” Storme said.

It was a frightening experience.

“Oh yeah I was scared, I was trembling all the way over here,” Laura said.

But neighbors couldn’t stand back and do nothing.

“We were worried about Bob but we made sure he got out and everything,” Storme said.

Robert Neal escaped with his life but he is left picking up pieces of his memories.

“That’s the tip from a Jackie Robinson baseball bat,” Neal said, as he sorted through the ashes. “That almost makes me cry.”

Neal’s wife passed away just a few months ago.

The fire destroyed some of their precious memories.

“She had quilts in those boxes over there.” Neal said. “They`re not boxes now.”

In the midst of all the wreckage, Neal is thankful for the things he did manage to save.

“I took her Bible in the bedroom so I could read her Bible and read her notes,” He said. “I`m glad I got it.”

Neal’s detached garage is a total loss but there was minimum damage to his home.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.