DEER CREEK, OK — A metro pastor and his family suffered a tremendous loss over the weekend. Their home destroyed by what fire officials may have been a preventable fire. Fire officials say at this time they believe fireworks are likely to blame.
Fire officials say the family was really lucky they made it out alive. The fire burned for quite a while unnoticed while the family slept. It was a popping noise that woke one of them up. They called 911, but it was too late to save their home.
Hunter Dinkines shot video of the fire with his phone.
The home, now just a shell, belongs to Life Church Campus Pastor Chris Beall and his family.
Deer Creek Assistant Fire Chief Michael Montgomery said, “They heard some popping noises and when they came outside the fire was already on the roof.”
The fire spread quickly. Fire officials believe it started in a trashcan just outside the family’s home. They say fireworks that were not fully extinguished are likely to blame.
Montgomery said, “It looked like it traveled up the side of the house, got into the eave and then into the attic.”
While it is completely legal to set off fireworks in the area, Deer Creek fire officials say anyone setting off fireworks should take extra precautions to prevent a fire.
Montgomery said, “Make sure without a doubt those fireworks completely cooled off before you throw them away.”
Soak them in water if possible. Montgomery says as an extra measure of safety, move your trash can away from the house.
While it is likely this tragic event will not stop firework displays any other rural neighborhood residents say it will make them more cautious.
Montgomery said, “I think people will think twice, especially take more precautions now that something like this has happened.”
We did talk with the Beall family by phone, they tell us they are fully insured and have found a place to stay for now. They say they are also overwhelmed by the help they’ve already received.
Deer Creek fire officials say this time of year does keep them busy. They just hope this will remind everyone how important it is to be careful and responsible.