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Bethany code enforcement cracks down on fire victims

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BETHANY, Okla. -- On May 2, flames ravaged the Earlys' house on N.W. 23rd St. in Bethany.

It was their home for 18 years. Now, they have nothing left.

"Oh my God, I'm just thankful we weren't here," said Phylesa Early, the homeowner.

The house fire was actually just the beginning of a wave of generosity for Billy and Phylesa Early.

A generous neighbor heard about their loss and offered up her travel trailer. They called it a "gift from God."

"It was such a blessing," said Phylesa Early. "They needed to get rid of it. We needed a place to live, and it's awesomely nice. Thank you, God."

The free trailer did seem like a God-send, until 24 hours later when the City of Bethany showed up with a code violation notice.

"The city inspector said: Get it out," said Carla Bensinger, the owner of the trailer. "I was like, oh my gosh. God did this. You don't mess with what God does. You just don't."

Phylesa Early said the trailer had only been parked in their yard one day when a code enforcement officer delivered the notice.

"Next thing I know, the city inspector is like, 'You can't have it there.' I'm like, we're trying to find a place to go. We don't want to sit in this burned out mess forever."

The notice was confusing at first, because there are travel trailers all over Bethany.

NewsChannel 4 spotted four trailers parked in other residences within two blocks of the Earlys' home.

We spotted a dozen in surrounding neighborhoods.

However, you cannot live in a trailer without utilities hooked up in Bethany.

This week, the code enforcement officer came to the Early property again, and this time, brought police.

Billy and Phylesa's son, Cody Early, caught part of their heated exchange on audio tape:

Officer: "Mother F***** let me tell you something. I'll take your little a** to jail right now."

Officer: "Let me tell you something else. You're on my sh** list now, little punk."

Cody Early: "I'm not a punk."

Officer: "Yeah, ya are. All you are."

Cody Early: "Okay cool. Have a nice day guys."

Officer: "You think you're a bad a**?"

Cody Early: "Why are you talking to me like that, sir?"

Officer: "I'll talk to you any way I want to."

Officer: "We're not going to put up with your bullsh**. You're in Bethany."

Here is a recording of the full exchange:

The Bethany police chief tells us he is aware of the incident. He says the police department has a long history with the Early family.

Regarding the officer conduct, Chief Phil Cole encouraged any Bethany citizen to file a formal complaint with the department.

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