Morning fire guts local apartment quad
By Ken Childers
A fire destroyed one quad of a local apartment complex Wednesday morning, causing two residents to be relocated.
Shortly after 9 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to the Northview Apartments on Crestview Drive and found one building that contains four apartments engulfed in flames. The quad was rendered a total loss.
According to Okemah Fire Chief Roy Neal, the blaze was started by a heating/air conditioning unit in one of the apartments. No injuries were reported, and only two of the quad’s four apartments were occupied at the time of the fire.
The two residents affected by the fire were identified as Gwendolyn Saultz and Ricky Lancaster, both of whom lost virtually everything. Lancaster reportedly lost all of his belongings in another recent fire, and family members took to social media seeking donations to help him replace clothing items.
A witness said firefighters were able to retrieve some of the Saultz’s belongings from her apartment, which included an urn that contains her deceased father’s ashes.
The Northview complex includes 38 units and primarily caters to adults over 62 years of age. The complex is located at 901 Crestview Drive, just west of Highland Cemetery.
Fire safety tips for apartment dwellers
If your door feels warm to the touch, do not attempt to open it. Call 9-1-1 and tell the dispatcher your apartment number and that you can’t open your door.
Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding, or tape. Cover vents. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a white cloth.
If your apartment door is cool to the touch, open it slowly. Stay low and check for smoke or fire in the hallway. If the hallway is safe, follow your building’s evacuation plan.
Never use an elevator to escape a fire. Always use the stairs.