“This is an ongoing investigation, but they were able to determine that this fire was intentionally set,” said OKCFD spokesman Scott Douglas.
OKC Fire also acknowledged the efforts of a neighbor to save the life of the man who died at the home. They arrived on the scene on the 2100 block of N.E. 20th St. just after 9 p.m.
“It was a heroic act, for sure, and that’s the kind of neighbor that I would want living next to me,” Douglas said.
When firefighters arrived, they found a victim at the front door of the home and the neighbor lying in the front yard.
Crews immediately grabbed the man who was at the front door and moved him to the yard. Sadly, they realized he was already dead.
Investigators learned the victim in the yard was the neighbor who forced his way into the front door and rushed into the burning home to attempt to save the man.
“He did locate the victim in the back of the home,” Douglas explained. “Now, since the fire was growing and the smoky conditions were getting worse, he had to make several different attempts outside to get fresh air. He actually told us he went in and out four different times to get fresh air.”
He pulled the neighbor to the front doorway. He then passed out in the yard, but regained consciousness and returned next door to his home.
“He was on the front porch,” Douglas said. “He was gasping for air. So, our firefighters immediately treated him on scene.”
He was then taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Douglas told KFOR fire officials believe the fire was intentionally set.
Those who live in the area are saddened by the loss of their neighbor.
“It was very sad,” said Shanikca Robinson. “He was a very nice guy. He was always happy, singing. He was nice.”
They’re also in awe of the man who risked his life trying to save him.
“He is a very, very brave gentlemen,” said Taylor Johnson. “We need more people like him, for sure.”
The fire remains under investigation.