OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A three-alarm fire damaged at least 18 units in The Haven downtown apartments Monday evening as firefighters spent about two to three hours fighting the blaze.
“When they got here, there was already a pretty fair amount of fire,” Battalion Chief with the Oklahoma City Fire Department Benny Fulkerson said.
It is unclear how the fire started at this time as fire officials continue their investigation. Fulkerson said about 18 units suffered some kind of water, smoke or fire damage in a scary situation for residents there.
“I heard a knock on the door, like a very frantic knock,“ Andrew Cox said. A resident of the complex. “As I was starting to approach the door, I could start to smell something that smelled like fire, the smell of smoke.”
Chopper 4 was high above the scene as flames shot out of the roof. Cox, who was on the opposite of the complex from the fire sensed immediately that it was time to go.
“I opened the door and saw the smoke and was like ‘oh, OK,’” he said. “I told my wife, ‘hey, there’s a fire here, we got to get out like right now.’”
A three-alarm fire means about 50 to 60 firefighters were on scene working to put it out.
“We made an interior attack initially, but the fire got into the attic very quickly and then it started to spread to the west,” Fulkerson said.
One woman was rushed to the hospital with what is believed to be smoke inhalation. Firefighters said she is expected to be OK. Residents like Cox said they’re thankful it wasn’t any worse.
“I just wanted to say something to the Oklahoma City fire department because we got out here pretty quickly and the ladder trucks and the other one’s they got here really fast, and they were on it immediately.” Cox said.
Fulkerson said they didn’t have to extract anyone from the building since most people self-evacuated safely. At one point a brick wall and the roof collapsed. However, firefighters said they had already established what they call “collapse zones” before that took place.