Fire in downtown Tulsa building could be arson


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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 2/19 5:18 pm Published: 2/19 4:56 pm


TULSA, Okla. - Investigators suspect arson in a fire at a downtown Tulsa building.

Dozens of firefighters fought the flames at Bowen Baptist Church near Independence and Saint Louis Avenue.

FOX23’s Price McKeon talked to officials of the Tulsa Fire Department; they said the building was not in use.

Church members said that's because of a different fire set at this same church.

“It just looked like a tornado the way it was coming out and filtering, just big huge circle tornado,” said Stephanie Kinsey, who witnessed the fire.

Before this fire, the church was already boarded up and its windows had been busted out.

“It was just not safe inside.. We were victims of arson a few years ago and we could not raise the money to repair it,” said Terry Dick, a church member.

Even though they don't worship inside this building, the church owners found themselves victims of fire again.

FOX23 cameras were there as dozens of Tulsa firefighters fought the flames and fire trucks lined the streets.

“For the safety of our firefighters, there were concerns about the roof structure of the building,” said Capt. Jose Ariza with Tulsa Fire.

Ariza told FOX23 they had to pull the crews out at one point.

The flames were wind-driven, which definitely didn't help. Firefighters were able to use ladders and put out the fire.

TFD told FOX23 witnesses saw kids running from the church after the fire.

The loss also hurts a Tulsa nonprofit.

“We are in the process of donating the property to Habitat for Humanity. This has been in the works for several months now,” said Dick.

Anyone with information about the kids running from the fire is asked to call the Arson Hotline at 918-596-2776.

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