It's been colder than usual in Oklahoma and that has families breaking out space heaters bring a little extra warmth to their home. Tragically, for one family, that ended in a fire that claimed the lives of two people, reported local newspaper The Daily Ardmoreite.
In rural Love County early Wednesday morning, deputies responded to a house fire. There, they discovered that the fire claimed the lives of two Love County residents, said Love County Sheriff, Marty Grisham. Because of the extreme intensity of the fire and debris, deputies and firefighters were unable to enter the home.
“There were two fatalities, a 13-year old male and a 60-year old male. Family members stated the father was paralyzed so the boy went to help him get out, and they both succumbed to smoke inhalation,” Grisham said.
The boy perished as a hero. He was desperately trying to save his father.
Judah Shepard, an investigator with the Oklahoma Fire Marshall’s office, told The Daily Ardmoreite that the double-wide mobile home where the family lived had active electric service. However, they ran out of propane during the night.
The remaining family said they used three electric space heaters to heat the home while the mother and one of the children left to purchase more propane.
There were three people left in the home when it caught fire, reported KTen. Officials say it's believed the boy, 13, and girl, 17, had been sleeping near the space heaters in the living room to stay warm.
"The 17-year-old woke up and noticed the fire," Sheriff Grisham said.
The 17-year-old escaped without injury. The 13-year-old boy, however, perished after an unsuccessful attempt to get his 60-year-old father into his wheelchair.
"Upon arrival, they had been told the information there were two people still in the house," Grisham said, adding that their bodies were later found on the east side of the trailer.
“The blaze appeared to have originated in the living room area. However, due to the amount of damage, I was unable to determine whether the cause was electrical or the space heaters,” shared Shepard.
“The on-scene investigation ruled the fire was accidental," he added.
The father, James Cummins, 60, perished in the fire. His next of kin have been notified, confirmed Shepard. The name of the 13-year-old boy was not released and he said the family has requested privacy to grieve at this time.
Both Grisham and Shepard urge anyone who chooses to use space heaters to use them properly.
“They need to be at least three feet from any combustible material and not operated while plugged into an extension cord,” Shepard said.
Please say a prayer for the family as they deal with this tragedy. In other news, sickening details have emerged about the 13 children who were held by their parents in California.