The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

January 31, 2013

Man, child killed in Norman fire

NORMAN — The smoky smell of a charred house lingered in the afternoon air Wednesday after a fire took the lives of a father and his child in the early morning hours in southeast Norman.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said firefighters were called to 2705 Richardson Drive about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. They entered the burning garage and found a four-year-old girl in the living room of the single-story home.

The child was taken by EMSStat to Norman Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A man in his 20s was found dead under fire debris in the garage. Both of the victims’ bodies were taken to the state Medical Examiner’s office for cause of death and identification.

The homeowners at 2705 Richardson Drive are listed as Richard and Brenda Finley, according to county records. The owners were the father’s parents, neighbor Ed Moore said, and added that their work requires them to be out on the road a lot because they are truck drivers.

Moore said firefighters removed the child from the home immediately, but it took crews a little longer to find the father.

Moore said the man was a good father who often took his daughter to the park or put her on the back seat of his bike to go bike riding.

“She was as cute as a bug,” Moore said. “He just loved that little girl.”

Moore woke up early Wednesday morning when neighbors across the street knocked on his door to warn him of the fire. They moved their vehicles up the street and waited for the fire department to extinguish the blaze.

“There was smoke all over the place,” he said. “We didn’t have much visibility.”

The neighbor across the street, Melanie Meiser, said she and her husband ran to neighbors’ houses whenever they saw the flames to warn them.

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