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'25 years went up in about 25 minutes': Sperry man loses home, business in fire

Posted at 3:11 PM, May 21, 2024

SPERRY, Okla. — The director of the Tulsa Spotlight Theater is dealing with a double tragedy of his own.

Mark Roberts said a fire destroyed both his home and long-time business.

“25 years went up in about 25 minutes,” said Mark Roberts.

Mark Roberts still has a few custom birdhouses blowing in the wind at his Sperry home.

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He said it’d be a while before he could build anymore.

Birdhouses by Mark is a decades-long passion project for the Navy veteran. It’s a passion that went up in flames.

“Everything from a screwdriver to my big cabinet saw is gone,” said Roberts. “So it’s literally starting from scratch.”

Roberts’ wife came home on May 10 and noticed smoke coming from the house. That smoke quickly turned to flames. Firefighters from several departments came to put them out. There’s not much left behind, only burned equipment, slats of wood, and pieces of the roof missing over the garage.

“It’s just the business part of it that’s going to be the struggle,” said Roberts. “Smoke and damage went all the way to the end of the house, so it’s a total loss.”

Roberts said they lost a dog and a cat because of the fire. The loss of his business could put a dent in their finances as well.

“The birdhouse income that is what gave us enough to buy the extra groceries that we need, pay the bills that we have, and just provide a little bit of extra income,” said Roberts.

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It will take months to rebuild the house and countless hours to replace nearly $30,000 worth of tools, but Mark said he’s not losing hope.

“I’m only 75 now, and I got a lot of years left in me, and I’m going to recover from this and go on,” said Roberts.

In addition to being the director of the Spotlight Theater, he helps out at the Tulsa Zoo and is a staple at the Tulsa Farmers Market.

If you’d like to help him rebuild his tool collection, click here.

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