GUTHRIE, Okla. – A teen was found dead inside a burning apartment building that was destroyed by massive flames late Monday night.
“Got a knock on the door, woke up, said there was a fire, went outside and the whole left side of that building was on flames,” Justin Mccorkle told News 4.
The blaze nearly burned Mccorkle’s apartment building to the ground around 11 Monday night, destroying all eight units inside.
“Me and a friend of mine, a mother and a daughter jumped out of the top. We helped catch them,” Mccorkle said. “You could feel the heat coming off of it, even from the opposite side of the building where I stayed.”
The enormous flames quickly spread. Another apartment building nearby had to be evacuated as well as a precaution.
“They come banging on the door and we come out, come around and all the debris was falling around as we were running down the stairs,” said Kathey Rutherford, who lives in a nearby building. “This whole building, the whole front was on fire and then we just sat there and watched it burn. It just got worse and worse.”
“We do have one 14-year-old male that is unaccounted for,” said Battalion Chief Erin Jones with the Guthrie Fire Department on scene.
Shortly after, fire crews pulled 14-year-old Saul Bernal’s body from the burning building.
The superintendent for Guthrie Public Schools, Dr. Mike Simpson, released a statement, saying, in part, “Obviously, our heart goes out to Saul’s family as well as the other families affected by this tragedy. The loss of young people is possibly one of the saddest parts of life, and this is a very sad day in Guthrie. We will continue to offer assistance to our students and staff as they cope with this tragedy.”
Counselors were available on Tuesday at Guthrie Junior High for students and staff.
“Guthrie comes together, we all just have to come together helping each other,” said Ethel Stewart, another resident.
The two women who jumped from the second story were transported to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Three other people were treated on scene for minor injuries.
A firefighter was transported for minor injuries after falling through the floor of a second-story apartment.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.