MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 17, 2013

Family left homeless after blaze

Woman believes space heater started fire

A city woman believes a house fire that left her and her four children homeless may have been started by the family’s space heater.

Katrina Moore, 23, said she woke up late Wednesday night to an incessant beeping noise she at first thought was her cousin’s phone.

“I said, ‘Hey, your phone is beeping,’” Moore said. “She said, ‘It’s not my phone.’ I got up and saw smoke around the bedroom door and then my bedroom was just up in flames.”

They, along with three of Moore’s four children — a 3-year-old, and 18-month-old and a 5-month-old — escaped the house at 2615 Elgin St. Moore’s remaining child, a 4-year-old, wasn’t at the home Wednesday night.

“We went and looked at the house today, and it was a total loss,” Moore said. “But the good part is that we’re OK and we were all able to get out of there.”

Ryan Hardaway, director of the American Red Cross in Muskogee, said the family had been given clothing and shoes, money for food and a voucher for two nights in a hotel while they try to get back on their feet.

Moore said she’d bought hats, gloves and coats for her children, as well as teething medicine for the two youngest.

“But that’s it, that’s all we have right now, we lost everything,” Moore said. “Everything in the house is gone.”

Muskogee Fire Department Fire Marshal Ray Bob Daniels said though the cause of the fire is listed as undetermined, Moore told firefighters she believed it was started by a space heater.

With temperatures at times dipping into the teens overnight, Daniels offered some tips to safely run a space heater.

• Keep combustible materials at least 3 to 5 feet from the heaters.  

• Don’t plug space heaters into extension cords.

• Don’t place space heaters directly on the carpet. Instead, place them on something non-flammable.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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