OKLAHOMA CITY -- Nearly a month after an early morning house fire killed one person and injured four firefighters, city officials announced plans to fence the area around the home off before it is demolished.
"The city does not have authority to enter the property but we realize that this needs to be secure. The home is not in a place where it’s safe right now," Kristy Yager, with the City of Oklahoma City, told KFOR.
In February, fire crews were called to the home in the Quail Creek housing addition, near May Ave. and Hefner Rd., following a house fire. Investigators say Otis Morgan was forced to jump from the second floor. His wife, Pastor Dr. Coyett Morgan, was still inside the house. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died.
"The homeowner’s been a through a lot of trauma, losing his wife and his home, so we’re just trying to get everything together so that we can move to the next step," Yager said. "We’re trying to work with the mortgage company. Unfortunately, it’s a really unusual situation where we can’t locate the homeowner and we need their approval to move forward."
Remnants from the fire remain visible to this day. It left the indoor pool completely exposed, which Yager said could be a dangerous situation for neighborhood children.
"We don’t want kids to walk in," she said. "People are curious what a house might look like that had been on fire. We just need to make sure that everybody stays out of that property. It would be trespassing if they stepped on that property anyway."
Similar concerns have been voiced by neighbors on 'Nextdoor.' Many have posted condolences to the family, some adding the area is "dangerous and unstable for kiddos thinking it's a playground." Another neighbor added that part of the home looks like "it will fall without any help."
According to Yager, the city plans to fence the area around the home before it is ultimately demolished either by the city or the homeowners' mortgage company.
However, a timeline is unclear until they locate the homeowner.
"I think he spent some time in the hospital after the accident and now, we’re having a hard time locating him and we can’t move forward without his authorization by state law," she said. "No matter what, the home will be demolished at some point. We’re going to try to do that as quickly as we can, but we need to be sensitive to the homeowner’s needs and what that person wants."