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January 25, 2014

Fire destroys south Noble home; residents believe space heater sparked blaze

NORMAN — A fire on 48th Avenue Southeast near Cemetery Road destroyed a small home and its contents after a space heater malfunctioned Friday afternoon. No one was injured in the blaze.

Safely across the street, the Butts family watched their home burn.

“We’ve lost everything, and our two children have lost everything. We have a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old,” said the mother, Jami Lavon-Butts.

She said the children were home sick, but everyone escaped safely. Lavon-Butts said her mother, now a resident of Texas, has owned the home for 22 years. Lavon-Butts has lived there for three years.

Jason Butts said the cold weather froze their water and they put a space heater in the well house in an attempt to thaw the lines. The couple believes the heater malfunctioned and started the fire.

“We saw it start and called 911,” she said. “It was to the house in five minutes.”

Neighbors Robert and Kayla Bullock said they saw the fire start and saw the family escape safely. Robert Bullock said his cousin, Greg Fulks, lives in the mobile home next door. He turned on Fulks’ water hose to wet the grass and keep the flames from spreading until Fulks showed up.

Bullock and Fulks said they have been careful to keep the dead grass trimmed close to their homes because of the high fire danger. Residents of the Slaughterville/Noble area are no strangers to fire.

In March 2011, National Guard helicopters were called out to help battle a wildfire near Slaughterville between Maguire and Banner roads. Then, in August 2012, a fire that started in the Slaughterville area burned for days as it was pushed north and east by high winds that took it across State Highway 9 and into east Norman.

Friday’s house fire was in an incorporated portion of Cleveland County, which is part of the Slaughterville fire response area. Slaughterville is an all-volunteer fire department. City Manager Marsha Blair is among the long-time volunteers firefighters.

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