, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 24, 2013

City woman dies in apartment fire

Blaze started in kitchen, investigators say

A Muskogee woman who died in an apartment fire over the weekend was described as a caring person, neighbors said Monday.

Shannon Covey, 35, died after a fire in her kitchen early Saturday, stated a media release Monday from Muskogee Fire Chief Derek Tatum.

Firefighters were called about 4:45 a.m. to the Emerald Apartments at 2222 Haskell Blvd.

Julie Keplinger, who made the emergency call, said she woke up on her couch and saw smoke in her apartment.

“I remember waking up and coughing,” she said. “I saw smoke and thought my apartment was on fire.”

After she found that her apartment wasn’t burning, Keplinger went outdoor and saw smoke coming out of Covey’s air conditioner unit, she said. She banged on the door, yelled “Fire!” and called the Fire Department.

The release said firefighters found the room engulfed in smoke and Covey unconscious on the living room floor by a couch.

Covey was taken by Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service to EASTAR Health System, where she was pronounced dead.

Tatum said preliminary reports indicate Covey may have died from smoke inhalation. He said the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner will determine her cause of death.

The blaze started in the kitchen, where it appeared Covey had been cooking. Tatum stated it appeared Covey “fell asleep on the couch.” Firefighters contained the blaze to the kitchen area, but noted the apartment was filled with “heavy smoke.”

“You hate to see that happen to anyone,” Keplinger said.

Several neighbors said they didn’t hear any smoke alarms go off.

Ross Folsom, who said he is unable to walk much, said Covey would bring meals to him and would make sure he ate.

“I’m going to miss her,” he said. “I’ll miss her a lot. She was good friend, a real good friend.”

Folsom said Covey had twin daughters and two sons, but he didn’t know their names or ages.

“She loved her children and loved her family,” he said. “She would help anybody. She and I were close.”

Keplinger said Covey was always excited to see her children, who visited on most weekends.

“Thank God they weren’t there that weekend,” she said.

Assistant Fire Marshal Derrell Jones said the blaze appears to have been accidental, but is still under investigation.

The release estimated the damage at about $45,000.

Reach Thad Ayers at (918) 684-2903 or

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