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E. Tulsa couple barely escapes apartment fire

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 20:21:07-04

As Susan Hayward and Patrick Tottress walked through their burned up apartment Wednesday afternoon, they were struggling to believe the damage in front of them. 

Just hours earlier they had to break a window and jump outside to survive. Now, the only clothing items they have left are just hospital gowns.

The Tulsa Fire Department reports the fire started by the front door and then burned all the way towards the ceiling. 

"[I'm] surprised we made it out alive," Tottress said while standing under the burnt ceiling in his living room. "The way this looks and how small these apartments are, the hallways, I'm just surprised we reacted that fast."

Before firefighters arrived early Wednesday morning, the couple woke up in their bedroom, which is now covered in soot. They jumped out of bed and Hayward said she noticed smoke coming their way. 

"We could see it start to billow down the hallway," she recalled. 

The two ran down the hallway away from the smoke and into a spare bedroom, the couple said. 

Only 30 seconds longer inside that room and Tottress believes they would have died. They didn't even have time to look for their kitten named Henry. Hayward said she recently got a therapy pet to help her cope with several medical conditions. 

Firefighters report they didn't see the kitten and the couple couldn't find their pet as they went back into their apartment Wednesday afternoon. 

"That is the window right here," he said pointing at the now boarded up window.

Glass covered the ground against the wall.

"Like a horse, just boom and it just busted open," Tottress said while kicking his leg out to show how he broke the window.

On the first kick, he said it broke and they started climbing out.

"'You want to get cut up or you want to die?' he asked. "We choose to get up and got out of that building."

With a few cuts and a bit of smoke inhalation, the two made it outside. EMSA would later take them to the hospital for treatment and both were released several hours later. 

After being released from the hospital they walked through each room of their apartment. They found all of their belongings either burned or damaged by smoke.

TFD reports the cause of the fire was accidental, due to an overloaded electrical outlet.