OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was a rude awakening just before 4:30 a.m. at an apartment complex near NW 13th and Meridian.
Folks who live at the Heritage House II apartments were already evacuating as firefighters arrived.
“The entire attic area was full of fire,” said Shift Commander David Shearer with the Oklahoma City Fire Dept.
Firefighters were called to the massive fire burning before daylight.
A frightened resident told 911 dispatchers they had no working smoke alarms in their unit to wake them.
Instead, nature called at just the right time.
“They were fortunate they happened to wake up to go to the restroom and they smelled smoke,” said Batt. Chief Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Dept. “Smoke doesn’t typically wake people up. It actually has been proven to lull you into a deeper sleep.”
A windy Wednesday morning added fuel to the fire.
Crews were forced to tackle it from above.
“It was bad enough that we felt like we needed to back our firefighters out of the inside out of the interior and we set up our aerial master streams that are mounted on these large fire trucks that we have,” Fulkerson said.
But that did spell trouble for one firefighter.
“My understanding is one of the firefighters did get in the way of one of the master streams, which happens from time to time and it kind of pushed him against the structure a little bit,” said Fulkerson.
Thankfully he was ok – and so were the residents and their pets.
“We did end up rescuing four snakes, two cats and a dog,” Fulkerson told News 4. “The dog ended up being revived a little bit with oxygen and appeared to be okay.”
Firefighters say they can’t emphasize enough the importance of working smoke alarms – as this situation could have easily been much worse.
“That is the perfect scenario for there to be a tragic ending,” Fulkerson said.
The fire is believed to be caused by an electrical issue in the attic.