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Dozens of residents displaced due to attic fire

51st and Yale Apartment Fire
Posted at 1:21 PM, Apr 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-03 00:08:33-04

TULSA, Okla — 28 people and their pets are displaced after a South Tulsa apartment went up in flames early Saturday morning.

Tulsa Fire Department dispatched multiple engines to a fire at Harper's Lodge Apartments in the area of East 51st Street and South Yale Avenue.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 9:00 a.m. to find heavy fire coming from the roof of a 24 unit building.

While two crews battled the flames from the attic, one crew was assigned to search and rescue, and another crew focused on evacuating residents.

One resident told 2 News, that if it wasn't for nearby neighbors who went banging on everyone's doors, they wouldn't have known what was happening.

Matthew McKown said, “I was just trying to think of anything that I could grab. But basically, I couldn’t even think, walked outside, and saw how bad it was. I didn’t realize that it was actually that bad I just thought it was a little bit of smoke like a little oven fire or something.”

According to officials, the fire was primarily contained to the attic of the building, but 24 units sustained damage from the fire and firefighting efforts.

Chris Thompson's sons live in the building affected. When he got a call from them about the fire, he came rushing over.

“As soon as I got out the door, I could see the billows of smoke all the way from 51st and Peoria,” Thompson said. "The flames were just shooting up about 20-25 feet in the air.”

Some residents says they smelt something odd around 7 a.m. but went back to bed.

Next thing they know, “we were hearing boom, boom, boom at our door and a lady was like fire, fire, fire,” McKown said.

That’s when this couple grabbed their two dogs, important belongings and walked outside to see the fire.

“I was just surprised about how big it already was because I was right under that and I didn’t even know there was a fire, no smoke no nothing,” Mckown said.

Residents in the building, like Kahalil Nisely, spent the rest of the day moving out and salvaging what they could.

Nisely move to Tulsa three weeks ago, but his car with all his belonging was stolen shortly after moving here.

With hope for turning things around, he moved into these apartment on Friday.

“I was like cool I moved in I can go in and start getting all my stuff back, you know, start leveling up again," Nisely said. "I definitely did not expect this unexpected set back again.”

Despite that, he’s staying positive and so are many other residents I spoke to.

“You just have to be especially with how much negativity is going on in the world. I’d rather focus my time on trying to stay positive and focus on my next steps rather than wallow in what’s happening now,” Nisely said.

“Things can be replaced so I’m just glad we all have our family and nobody got hurt,” said Julia Waite who was also displace by the fire.

Red Cross is assisting 28 people, 7 dogs, and 4 cats that were displaced.

The apartment complex is working on finding open units at sister properties to help those who were displaced by the fire or damages.

No injuries have been reported, investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

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