Candle blamed for Lawton apartment fire

Lawton_The Lawton Fire Department was on the job on Tuesday, despite treacherous winter conditions.  Fire broke out at the Maplewood Apartments on 63rd and Maple, and residents had to be evacuated.  Someone had left a candle burning in one of the apartments.  The apartment unit was destroyed, and the residents, Kristie and Josh Williams, lost everything they owned - including their two pet cats.

Stephen Hale works at Maplewood Apartments and was in the office when the fire started.  "We were in the office, and the lady whose apartment it was came in screaming about her apartment on fire," he said.  "The fire was totally involved when units arrived on the scene," said Assistant Fire Chief Jay Head.  "Officer Lt. Terry said there were flames coming out 4 to 10 feet."

The flames were so intense, Hale says residents began to panic.  "We ran through, made sure her kids weren't in the apartment, and ran through the rest of the apartments getting everybody out of the apartment building," he said.  Thanks to Maplewood workers' swift actions, no one was injured in the blaze, and the Williams family - along with their three children - were able to escape safely.

Other units in the complex were left undamaged for the most part.  "Number 18 had a little smoke damage, and the one that is adjacent had some water damage, but it seeped underneath the wall," said Hale.  Firefighters blamed the blaze on a burning candle.

Because of frigid temperatures, all of the water that the firemen used to extinguish the blaze will  have frozen over in the streets near the Maplewood Apartments.  So, if you plan on driving in that area, be extra cautious.

The occupants of the burned apartment, and their children, lost everything in the fire.  The Red Cross is helping them get the basics since they lost everything, so they could use some help with supplies of food, baby formula, diapers, clothes and shoes for adults and children, bottles, and furniture.  Drop any donations at the Maplewood Apartments at 6307 NW Maple Avenue in Lawton, or call their number at 580-536-3322.