|Updated: 8/13/2012 6:07 pm
||Published: 8/13/2012 10:54 am
A fire tore through a south Tulsa apartment complex, leaving four people hurt and nearly two dozen apartments damaged or destroyed.
The fire started at the Fairmont Terrace apartments around 10:30 Monday morning. Fairmont Terrace is a section 8 housing complex off E. 61st St. between Riverside and Peoria.
Investigators with the Tulsa Fire Department determined some children playing with lighters started the fire.
The apartment building contained 24 units, split in half by a fire wall. The half where the fire started was mostly destroyed. The firewall mostly kept the flames from reaching the units on the other half of the building, but they still suffered significant smoke and water damage.
One of those displaced by the fire was Henry Sullivan, who was just waking up when he heard people screaming outside his door about a fire and that he needed to get out.
"I opened the door and seen (sic) smoke, so I ran and got my homegirl out the room or whatever, and we left," Sullivan said.
"Get up and Run, that's all I was thinking."
James Van Pelt also lived in one of the burned up apartments, and now faces the harsh reality of losing everything.
"My id gone (sic), my social security card gone," Van Pelt said. "I ain't even from down here."
"All we got is nothing now, you know. I'm outside in some house shoes that ain't even mine. This is my last outfit."
Even Van Pelt's meals are in question because he had just used up his SNAP benefits to stock up on groceries.
"I gotta start all the way over again," he said. "I really ain't got no job. It's hard out here for everybody."
Two women were taken by ambulance to area hospitals with relatively minor injuries.
Even though temperatures were much lower Monday than they had been the previous several weeks, it was still a tough blaze for firefighters to handle.
"Two firefighters hurt so far, not seriously," Stan May, Public Information Officer with the Tulsa Fire Department, said. "One with a back strain, and another had some minor burns to his leg."
Sullivan is struggling to come up with a plan to get back on his feet, but he's trying to stay positive.
"Gotta get up and keep your head up and keep it moving, I guess," he said.
"People could have got burned up. It could have been worser than it is. But I just thank God, you know what I'm saying. He woke me up in the nick of time to get up out of there, cause I could have been burned up."
May said the building did not have fire sprinklers because it was built before they were widely used.
Even though some of the apartment units are still livable, electric and gas service have been cut off to the building for the time being.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter for those who lost their homes or were displaced by the fire. The shelter is set up at the Crosstown Church of Christ at Admiral Pl. and Harvard.