Residents save families from apartment complex fire

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - More people could have been hurt in an apartment complex if residents nearby didn’t step in.

The fire happened at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning at the Premiere 82 Apartments off northwest 82nd Street.

Lawton Fire Chief Jared Williams said when crews got there, firefighters were met with heavy fire coming from a first floor unit.

In addition to battling the flames, crews started rescue operations, when they saw a group of residents helping a family out of their upper level home.

One of those people helping, was Christopher Hoover.

“So they live in the upstairs apartment, and for them to come out their front door and going down the stairs would be right into the fire,” Hoover said. “They had to come out the window. Me and a couple other residents were at the bottom under the window by the bush. And then I got over there, we had a blanket and then they dropped the kids out the window to us. I was crying, thinking about my own children. Totally in the moment... all I knew is, that they couldn’t go out the front door, and they had to come out. I was going to catch them no matter what.”

Williams said he’s thankful for the strangers who stepped up before fire crews got there.

“Whenever they reached the dwelling they had some rescue situations, and also engine 5 crews joined them and began rescuing with the help of some civilians,” he said. “Thank goodness they were there. Just due to the location, we didn’t have enough crews there initially. Our Response Time is about 5 minutes, which is well within the accepted norms. But the fire conditions were lapping up. The fire did not reach that portion of the apartment yet, but it was still a very scary situation for them and there was some smoke conditions.”

One person was flown to Integris Hospital in Oklahoma City to be treated for severe burns on up to 25 percent of their body, but they are expected to recover.

And while we’re not sure of their current status, Williams tells said their condition is stable.

The other victim was treated and released at a local hospital.

Hoover said he was shaken up from the whole ordeal, but he’s still finding ways to look on the bright-side as the smoke clears.

“Be thankful for the day,” he said. “Tell everyone that you love them, tomorrow is never promised.”

Chief Williams tells said several families have been displaced because of this fire.

One Apartment building sustained an unknown amount of damage, while several neighboring units were only affected by minor exterior damage.

The Lawton Fire Marshalls office is investigating the cause.

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