Man died after being pulled from burning apartment


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Reported by: Shae Rozzi
Updated: 1/09 10:33 am Published: 1/08 4:56 pm


The Tulsa Fire Department told FOX23 a man rescued from an apartment fire on Wednesday has died.

Two neighbors rushed to save a man from his burning apartment in downtown Tulsa.

They told FOX23 about the horrific scene at the complex on west 9th street between Denver and Cheyenne, and their incredible efforts to get the man out alive.

Before Tulsa firefighters got to the burning downtown apartment, a neighbor and his cousin ran in to help.

"The lady come knocking on our door down here yelling my son's on fire, my son's on fire," said Joseph Van Buskirk, one of the rescuers.

"I kicked the door open and I saw him sitting on the floor, surrounded by flames, he was actually on fire," said Gary Wells, a neighbor and rescuer.

They knew they had to act quickly.

"The apartment was hot; there was a lot of fire, a lot of smoke. It was really choking me, as black as it could possibly be," said Wells.

"I went ahead and got him on out. It took me three times to get him. I had to keep reassuring him that he's OK, that's part of a firefighter's job," said Van Buskirk.

He told FOX23 he was a firefighter when he served in the Air Force.

Tulsa firefighters knocked out the flames quickly to keep the fire from spreading to other apartments. They told FOX23 there were no smoke detectors in the apartment.

Wells said he would pray for his neighbor.

"I've never seen anything like that before. I feel sick to my stomach yet. He'd sit out front of his apartment and we'd talk. He was really a nice kid," said Wells.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in the living room but are not sure how it started. The victim's name has not been released.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Samafoo - 1/9/2014 4:50 PM
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I used to live at this complex last year. I lived there for about 7 months. The heating system is a furnace system and quite outdated. Leaks are questionable. Aside from that, my unit did have smoke detectors as well as all of my surrounding neighbors which were checked once a month and the maintenance man always replaced the batteries and tested them. Even if I had torn them off the walls in frustration during cooking(they worked a little bit too well), he would always put them back. It's a shame this happened. May peace be with his family and the tenants that are living there. - Sam
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