Neighbors blame burglar bars for Oklahoma City man’s death in house fire


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City firefighters said one man is dead after a Monday house fire near Northeast 23rd and Lottie. Several friends and neighbors tried to free the man from his home, but burglar bars on the windows and doors prevented the save.

“You’d ask him for something, if he could it he would do it. That’s for sure,” said the victim’s nephew, Ricky Rideau.

Firefighters said they got the call around 2:40 p.m. Monday afternoon, when smoke and fire billowed from the home near Northeast 23rd and Lottie.

Neighbors said a 67-year-old man was trapped inside. They said burglar bars on the windows and doors prevented his escape as they watched helplessly from outside, doing everything they could to free him.

“I was using this axe to try to break the windows on this side and try to hit the lock on the bar. It just wouldn’t work,” said Edwin Moreland, the man’s neighbor. “People were stopping, trying to get him out. Just couldn’t.”

“The door was open, I seen him catch on flames from that moment in time,” said Trimaine Williams, who also tried to help. “It was smoke and then it just erupted in flames right where he was at.”

“The fire department ended up having to force those open to make entry into the house,” said Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson with the OKC Fire Department. “We found a victim dead inside once we arrived how that happened we don’t know.”

News 4 is waiting for authorities to release the man’s name, but neighbors tell us he was a man of the community with a giving heart.

“He goes and runs errands for my dad and stuff like that when I’m not here. He comes to cut my yard every now and then. Just a good guy. Outstanding guy,” said Moreland.

Meanwhile, the man’s family is holding on to the memories they have of their uncle, father, and grandfather.

“You don’t get that time back and it makes you realize just how precious life is,” said Bernard Rideau, the victim’s other nephew.

“I just hope the family can know I tried to do my best,” said Williams. “I just jumped into action, because I felt like that’s the best thing I could’ve done. Because life is precious. You only get one.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The man also lived with his adult daughter, who was not home at the time.

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