Firefighter shares story of fire that destroyed school

TULSA - It's been almost a week since a massive fire destroyed the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.

Eight Tulsa firefighters were hurt in the fire, and two are still in the hospital.

On Tuesday, 2News spoke to one of the firefighters, who told his story of what it was like inside the fire.

Captain Alec Ridener retraced his own steps today, during his first time back inside of the school since the fire.

"I'm just very thankful that everyone is okay, and that's all it is, is injuries," he said.

When firefighters got to the scene, Ridener says it looked like the fire was on one side of the school.

"We pulled the hose line off and went inside the main door," Ridener said.

Once inside, firefighters crawled down the smoke-filled hallway past several classrooms.

"We opened the door to that classroom that was on fire, and I would say within a couple of seconds of opening that door, we heard something, and the floor shook," he said.

Ridener says there were two explosions.

"At that time, it knocked us backwards, knocked us off our hose line. We were completely covered by fire."

He immediately searched for the hose line so firefighters could follow it out of the building.

"I attribute this to God, I can't think of anything else. I mean our training definitely helped. But we immediately found that hose line," Ridener said.

One by one, the firefighters made it out of the building.

"After I saw eight people, I knew eight people were in there. A miracle," he said.

Ridener believes it was harder for the firefighters stuck outside.

"The guy driving my truck said that as soon as that happened, he immediately started processing in his mind that he thought he just lost his crew. And so they had a real hard time with it, and they still have a hard time with it," he said.

Ridener had minor burns on his ears and face, and a large burn on his side. But his family and his crew are helping him heal.

"They know that I love this job. And like I said, my dad was a fireman and he loved this job. And I wouldn't trade it for anything, even after this," he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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