Security bars kept victim from escaping house fire

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A metro family is mourning the loss of their loved one after his life was taken in a fire.    

The victim, 84-year-old Lloyd Brunson, seemed to know all of his neighbors.

The loss of his life has hit the neighborhood hard.

Unfortunately, fire crews said it was his efforts to keep burglars out that left him trapped inside.

Neighbor Quansjay Clayton said, "Nice neighbor, good, peaceful man. No problems. No drama. Just a nice man."

Clayton fought back emotion Wednesday talking about what happened right next door Tuesday night.

A fire engulfed the home of his elderly neighbor Lloyd Brunson.

Clayton said, "I was just hearing, 'Help, help, fire.'"

Clayton and neighbors ran to help.

They could see Mr. Brunson but could not reach him because of the security bars on the front door.

Clayton said, "All you see is a wall of fire, just a wall of fire. Something you can't forget about, hearing his last breaths for air."

OKC Fire Major Kevin Berry said, "Burglar bars are a way to keep people out but what most people don't realize is, in the case of a fire, it's a way of keeping you in."

Clayton and other neighbors tried everything to get in, even breaking down the back door.

He said, "Once I broke the back door broke down, the smoke was so hot and intense there was nothing I could do."

By the time fire crews were able to get to Mr. Brunson it was too late; he died at the scene.

Clayton said, "He was a nice person."

Neighbors, friends and family were at the scene, understandably devastated by the loss.

Fire crews said this is a tragic reminder of why anyone with security bars should make sure they can get out in the case of a fire.

Major Berry said, "It's very important if people are going to use security bars they purchase those that are equipped with emergency release features."

Fire crews said the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

However, early signs point to the fire being started by some type of heating device inside the home.

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