TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Fire Department says a potential cooking fire started by homeless people could be the cause of significant damage at a Tulsa business.
“This is a business my father built from scratch,” said Laura Munoz. “He started this business 23 years ago. He had nothing. He built it to what it is today and this is a big loss.”
The damage to the tires is evident when you step behind the gates at Lalo’s Event Center.
Owner Laura Munoz says they keep all of the used tires they sell at their main business Lalo’s Custom Wheels at the Event Center.
“Probably about $10,000 worth of merchandise lost unfortunately,” said Munoz.
Surveillance video from the business next door picked up all of the flames on camera. Around 2:00 a.m., Tulsa firefighters were called to the shop after someone driving by spotted the fire in the back.
Firefighters say a potential cooking fire from the homeless encampment behind the property could be to blame.
“Honestly at first, I wasn’t shocked, because it’s not the first instance where the fire department or the police are called to this area because of the homeless situation,” said Munoz.
Munoz says just last month firefighters had to put out a mattress fire behind the business. There’s evidence of a homeless encampment behind the fence. The business next door, which had cars burned in the fire, says the homeless group made holes in their fence that they’ve tried to fix.
Munoz says they increased security in the open field they own on the other side of the event center, because of problems.
“We had to fence that up as well because homeless people were leaving cars that were not functional there and we had to get multiple cars towed,” she said.
Munoz says as they work to replace the fence that was burned and catalog their losses, she wants to see something done so this doesn’t happen again.
“Honestly it’s a city issue, it’s not my issue,” she said. “It takes time out of my day and money out of my wallet. It’s not fair.”
The City of Tulsa gave 2 News Oklahoma the following statement on Wednesday:
“The City of Tulsa has received a few phone calls regarding homeless encampments in that area and has responded to each call as they came in. When calls have been received about encampments in the area, and when calls are received throughout other parts of the city, City crews send a team out to connect those in the area with housing outreach and resources, and work with people to get them and their belongings safely moved before cleaning up the area. ”
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