Fire kills man in Sapulpa

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/10/2012 7:10 pm Published: 12/10/2012 2:20 pm

A man was badly hurt trying to save his disabled son after he became trapped in their burning home. Sadly, his son did not survive.

It happened around 10:30 Monday morning on 46th W. Ave. near I-44 on the outskirts of Sapulpa.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Monday afternoon a fire investigator told FOX23 News he thought it started from a cooking mishap or a space heater in the home.

After fire crews got the flames put out, neighbors were milling about, surveying the damage.

Dawn Duvall said she smelled smoke, but couldn't figure out where the flames were. So she had her mother join the search.

"She checked the house and said 'no, there's nothing burning in here,'" Duvall said. "So my neighbor Trish called me and told me that Bill's house was on fire and to get out of my house. So we came out and all I seen was flames (sic)."

In complete horror she realized her next door neighbor was stuck inside.

"There was a handicapped man upstairs that wasn't able to get out," Duvall said. "His dad tried to get him out, but he got burnt, so he's at Hillcrest right now."

"The house was way too involved for us to go in to perform a rescue," David Taylor, Assistant Chief of the Sapulpa Fire Department, said. "We had to get it knocked down before we could go in." 

The father was Bill Locust, 73, who suffered severe burns on his arms and face. He was trying to save his son, Matthew Locust, who had Multiple Sclerosis, and was unable to walk downstairs when the fire started.

"My grandpa was heroic," Samantha Cooper, Bill Locust's granddaughter, said. "He'll try to do anything for anybody. He's always been like that."

"I can't believe it happened."

But with a frigid wind pushing the flames, Duvall and her family weren't out of the woods yet.

"Praying that the firemen would save my house, because my bedroom is right there next to it and so is my mom and dad's," Duvall said. "And my dad was sleeping and he's on oxygen."

Fortunately, fire crews were able to save her home.

"It jumped from my house to the neighbor's, and from the neighbor's to their neighbor's and burnt his camper out back and a mattress that was laying in his backyard," Duvall said.

Cooper said Bill Locust remains in critical condition in the burn unit at Hillcrest Medical Center.

By Monday evening neighbors were bringing by flowers and crosses as tributes to both Matthew and Bill Locust. Neighbors told FOX23 that the neighborhood is a tight-knit community, and they're all praying that Bill Locust survives his injuries.

Fire crews at the scene said with the cold weather Monday, it was a good time to remind people to be extremely careful using space heaters in their homes, and to make sure there is nothing flammable anywhere close by when space heaters are in use.

Fire officials said space heaters are the number one cause of house fires in the winter.

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