Owasso house fire on Christmas Eve destroys two homes and displaces 18 people; teen saves neighbor

OWASSO, Okla. - Not just one, but two families are homeless this Christmas.

Owasso's Fire Chief says all of his firefighters responded to a Christmas Eve fire that displaced 18 people including relatives visiting from Ohio.

"The fire alarm is still chirping in our background as we speak. It's a very eerie feeling," said Veronica Lechtenberger. She searched for anything on Christmas to salvage inside her sister's Owasso home.

Lechtenberger said, "I've never seen anything like it in my entire life."

Her sister's home is now an obstacle course. There are debris piles and live wires everywhere, with a cloudy Christmas Day peeking through the roof.

"What happened? I don't know! I don't!" said Yolanda Harvey.

Harvey and her boyfriend were renting the home and their children lived with the couple. Yolanda said she had just texted and gotten the okay from her landlord to build a fire. Yolanda says she and 13 family members were sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace, a Christmas Eve tradition. That's when her step-son saw flames coming from the chimney outside.

Veronica said, "Then it caught this house over here on fire and my nephew ran into that house and saved the man who was asleep in the home."

That nephew is Brandon Harvey.

"I went in there and I shook him real hard and I pulled his beard to try and get him up. He said 'what's going on!?' I said look at my house it's on fire," Brandon recalled.

Yolanda said her renter's insurance was to start in just three days. Still Christmas isn't a complete loss.

Their backyard shed is the saving grace. "The Christmas presents were in the shed so the little kids wouldn't see them. We have Christmas for them still," said Veronica.

Veronica delivered those presents to her sister's temporary home at the Candlewood Suites Hotel in Owasso.

After unloading the presents in the hotel's conference room, the kids came downstairs to the surprise. Everyone got a present.

Brandon said, "Ever since then, I believe in God. There is a God. I've got guardian angels all around me."

Donations are pouring in from anywhere and everywhere, but there's still fear of the unknown. The Harvey's have no home and only two free nights at the hotel.
 

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