PORUM — Three people are dead, including two children, after an early Tuesday morning residential fire in Porum.
A fourth person was flown to a Tulsa hospital and was listed in good condition from burns received in the blaze, said an official with the Porum Volunteer Fire Department.
Ervin Fraley lives next door to the home where his son, his son’s new wife and two children lived. His son, Kevin Fraley, 29, survived the fire but was hospitalized from injuries received in the blaze.
The dead were Kevin’s new wife, Tiffany Langston Fraley, 21, and the couple’s two children living in the mobile home, Mia, about 2 years old, and Rayden, nearly 1 year old. Ervin Fraley said his son received extensive burns from the 3 a.m. Tuesday fire.
Fraley said his son attempted to save his family but was unable to as the mobile home burst into flames blocking Kevin Fraley’s path to the home’s door.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office investigator Judah Sheppard said a cause for the fire had not been determined. He said space heaters were in use in the home but have not been determined to be the cause of the blaze.
“We think the fire started in the bedroom where the children were sleeping,” Sheppard said.
The fire was reported about 3 a.m., said Daniel Henson, assistant chief for the Porum Volunteer Fire Department. He said about 20 Porum firefighters responded to the call and found the home fully involved in flames.
Ervin Fraley said while his son Kevin and Tiffany had been living together for a couple of years, they were only married a few weeks earlier in December. He was awakened about 3 a.m. Tuesday by his son.
“He woke me up last night about three in the morning banging on the back door,” Fraley said.
Startled out of his sleep, Fraley said he did not know what was going on at first and did not even realize it was his son who was beating at the door.
“He was kind of out of it, incoherent, with lots of burns,” Fraley said of his son. “He came over here, and I didn’t recognize him. His face was all black, the hair on the back of his head was burnt and his back looked like all the skin was gone, and his feet were bleeding. It was awful.”
Fraley said his son was briefly able to describe a little of what had happened.
“He said he woke up and heard the baby boy screaming and he went to his room and said his bed was on fire,” the father said. “Before he could get him out, the boy quit screaming and he went to get his wife out while the house was all full of smoke.
“He said as he went down the hall, all of a sudden the whole house busted into flames,” he said. “It was horrible.”
Fraley said his son could not reach the door of the fiery mobile home.
“He couldn’t get out the door so he kicked his way through the wall to get out,” Fraley said.
He said his son tried to save his wife and children.
“When he fell in the door he yelled, ‘I tried to get them out, I tried to get them out,’” Fraley said.
Porum VFD’s Henson said while the fire was put out fairly quickly that firefighters remained on the scene throughout much of Tuesday morning.
Fraley said he was appreciative of the job done by the firefighters and emergency medical personnel who helped take care of his son. He, family members and neighbors continued looking over the burnt rubble off and on throughout the day Tuesday. He said he and his wife babysat the two children and had spent time with the family on Monday.
“The babies especially, we got attached to them,” he said. “As we see something they played with yesterday it all comes back to you that they’re gone.”
Between the injuries his son sustained and the medications he was on, Fraley said his son probably had not had time to evaluate and understand everything that had happened.
“I’m just a grandparent and devastated, but I can’t imagine what he’s going to go through as a parent,” Erin Fraley said. “It’s not soaked in what he has lost.”
Sheppard said Hillcrest Medical Center officials reported Kevin Fraley had second-degree burns over about 18 percent of his body. While no cause had been determined in Tuesday’s fatal fire, he said with temperatures well below the freezing mark that residents need to be careful when using space heaters.
“People need to be careful not to put space heaters within three feet of any combustible materials,” Sheppard said.
Those materials can range from anything that can catch fire and burn, from clothing and blankets to furniture and walls.
Space heaters should never be used with extension cords and should always be plugged directly into an outlet, he said. Those portable heaters should also be of the type that automatically turn off if and when they tip over, Sheppard said.
Reach Mike Elswick at (918) 684-2954, @melswickMPhx or email@example.com.