FLETCHER, Okla. - A fire destroyed a house in Fletcher, leaving a family of four searching for a place to live.
The Fletcher Fire Department says the fire started around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and it took nearly four hours to put it out. The next morning, around 5:45 a.m., the fire rekindled, bringing firefighters back to the scene for another four-hour battle.
One firefighter says the space heater in the bathroom is the culprit. Luckily, no one was hurt, but everything the family owned is gone.
The homeowner, Chad Englehardt, says the ordeal started when his wife, Torie, went to shower before heading to church. She turned on the heater in the bathroom, and it started smoking. But, then it stopped, so he headed out. An hour later, he got a call from Torie. She told him their house was on fire.
"Since my wife called me, I knew she and my child were okay. My initial thought was ‘It's gone.' I figured out the house was already gone, which was one of my biggest fears," said Englehardt.
But, firefighters were able to save half of the house. Englehardt says when they were finished, he was able to rummage through the rubble to actually see all the damage.
"Both bedrooms and the bathrooms were gone, but the kitchen and everything else on the right side of the house was still there," said Englehardt.
But it was not over. The fire started back up early Thursday morning, and this time, took whatever was left. Englehardt was worried about the firefighters' safety, too.
"I had a lot of ammunition in there. That was going off. You could hear it go ‘Pow! Pow! Pow!' left and right," said Englehardt.
Englehardt says the only thing he could salvage was the jacket he wears for turkey hunting. Thankfully, Englehardt says the community has stepped up, including the Fletcher School District where Torie is a kindergarten teacher.
"Literally, just 12 hours ago, our whole life was gone. Now, 12 hours later, it seems like everything is ok. We lost most of everything, but now it seems like we're back on track," said Englehardt.
The Red Cross is putting the family up in a motel for several nights.
The Englehardts want to stay in Fletcher and are looking for a rental house. They still could use a bit of help, such as basic household items and children's toys. They have two little girls, age 3 and 18 months.
If you would like to help, contact Lori Grant at the Fletcher School by calling (580) 549-6015 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org