GUTHRIE, Okla. - A man was forced to flee his home as it was eaten up by flames Monday morning. It happened not long after noon at the corner of East Warner Avenue and North Elm Street.
“I think the glass breaking woke me up,” said the homeowner, Larry Schaible.
It didn’t take him long to discover the source of the noise. Flames had overtaken the porch on the side of his home.
“I panicked because my phone wouldn’t work, so I couldn’t call 911 and so I just ran out in the street and started hollering,” Schaible said.
When firefighters arrived, they worked as quickly as possible to extinguish the home, but they were forced to contend with heavy winds.
“When you’ve got the wind pushing flames, it causes it to spread a whole lot faster than it normally would,” said Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.
Schaible had no choice but to watch everything in his life disappear before his eyes.
“I just saw a lot of memories go, gone,” he said.
Schaible's most precious possessions were his companions, his three cats.
“Angel was already out, and Sam, he ran out,” he said. “I saw him, so he’s alright.”
But, there was one Schaible didn’t see escape, his newest cat, a stray named Mellow Yellow, who was last sleeping on a heat blanket on the porch.
“So that he wouldn’t be cold in the winter,” he said.
That heat blanket is believed to have started the fire. The sweet cat nowhere to be seen.
“He was a stray, but he was a good, mellow, easygoing cat,” Schaible said. “He was a friend.”
Schaible is retired and didn’t have insurance. American Red Cross is doing what it can to help him temporarily.
The fire restarted around 8 p.m. Monday, and firefighters were back to make sure it was extinguished for good.
Firefighters warn that, if you do use an electric heater or a heat blanket, to keep it 3 feet from any flammable objects.