UPDATE: Overnight fire kills man, injures others in Stephens Cou - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Overnight fire kills man, injures others in Stephens County

STEPHENS COUNTY, Okla_An elderly man bound to a wheelchair was killed in an early-morning fire, and his wife was severely burned in Stephens County.

The fire started around 1:30 in a mobile home near Osage and Two Mile Road.  Witnesses said the victim's daughter and granddaughter first noticed the fire, and escaped. They ran for help to a relative's home next door.

Two men went back inside to rescue the elderly couple and were able to rescue the woman. But their attempt to save 69 year old Henry Bernard failed. By the time firefighters arrived, the fire was too intense to make another attempt.

Fire officials said at this time, the cause of the fatal fire is still being investigated. However, just before 6 p.m., Bernard's son David said he is with his mother Bernice, at a hospital in Oklahoma City, where she was flown to be treated for burns. He said she is in the intensive care unit with about a third of her body badly burnt.

He also said the fire somehow sparked from an air conditioner wall unit.

Yellow tape surrounds what's left of the Bernard mobile home while firefighters soak remaining hot spots.

Neighbor Leon Allison watched the tragedy from his doorstep this morning, after being awakened by sirens.

"Mr. Bernard has been ailing and been sick. We first thought the ambulance was over there and then we finally began to see that the smoke was getting in the flames, so that's when we realized that was a fire truck."

Judah Sheppard of the State Fire Marshal's Office said it's clear the fire started in the living room, but the design makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause.

"It's being parched as a continued add-on addition too, so they've done a lot repairs or additions over the years."

That might further explain why most of the Bernard's belongings are almost unrecognizable.

"When it's fully involved like this and you have sheet metal on siding for roof, it keeps a lot of the heat inside and makes it more like a convection oven, which causes additional destruction. All the heat and the energy from the fire is being kept inside."

Allison said despite the cause, he wishes it could have been prevented.

"He was a good neighbor, we hate to see this with anybody, but especially with a good neighbor. He will be missed."

Fire officials say they are not quite sure how long the investigation may take.

 

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