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Fire Marshal seeking charges against landlord in Purcell fire that badly burned three girls

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PURCELL, Okla. – Officials are now asking for charges to be filed in McClain County after three girls were badly burned in a Purcell house fire at the end of November.

Sam Schafnitt with the State Fire Marshal’s Office said they are asking for criminal charges against the landlord.

Two of the girls are still hospitalized.

Fire officials say the fire started in an electrical outlet in the home the Epperson family was renting.

Officials learned the home had no working smoke detectors.

The law states landlords must provide working smoke detectors, which this house did not have.

We have not been able to reach the landlord for comment.

He has not yet been charged with a crime.

Jennifer Epperson said, “I woke up smelling something. I told my husband, ‘Honey, I smell something burning.’ He got up, opened the curtain from our bedroom to the living room and he said,  ‘The living room’s on fire. Get the kids and get out.’”

Epperson said they managed to escape out the bedroom window with the flames practically on top of them.

She said, “I think it was adrenaline because I don’t even know how I fit through that window because that window was small but I fit through it and got my kids out.”

All three of Epperson’s daughters were injured.

The girls were flown to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

The oldest daughter, 14-year-old Danielle, is the only one who has been released from the hospital.

Officials said 11-year-old Mary is being treated for a blood clot in her lungs and 12-year-old Stacy has undergone five different skin grafts.

Epperson said, “But she’s doing really good. They said they hadn’t ever seen skin grafts take like that on a young child like they did on her.”

She said her focus has changed this Christmas season.

“This year, I don’t even care about presents,” she said. “My kids are here, they could not be here but they’re here with me.”

Epperson said her other two daughters could be released from the hospital soon.

The family lost everything in the fire.

A fund has been set up for them at First State Bank in Noble, in care of the Epperson family.