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Local News

March 3, 2013

House fire, smoke claims woman’s life

DMS boy displays heroic courage

DUNCAN — Even though rescue efforts were rapid to a house fire just before midnight Friday, the woman, in her early 40s, did not survive.

Duncan Deputy Fire Chief Dayton Burnside said she had been mediflighted to Oklahoma City, but they were advised at 8:30 a.m. Saturday that she was deceased. Her identity has not been released, and the fire is under investigation.

Preliminary findings are that the door to a woodburning stove was not closed and embers escaped and caught fire and it quickly traveled through the house. The woman was in her bedroom on the opposite end of the home, Burnside said.

Heroic efforts

Marcos Zapata didn’t think twice about trying to kick in the door of the home at 209 E. Spruce to try and rescue any occupants within the burning structure. Zapata, 14, and his sister, were out in their neighborhood looking for their dog when he spied the house on fire. His first instinct was to rush to the burning home and hope to alert anyone inside.

“The smoke was so thick, I couldn’t go in,” he said. “I hollered.”

Zapata’s sister quickly rushed home around the block and yelled for their mother and grabbed their phone. When they got back around the corner, she started honking their car horn in hopes neighbors would come out of their homes to help.

And they did.

Dan Moon and his brother, Joe Park, quickly responded.

Park, who has braces on his legs, said they started trying to bust out windows and he was trying to crawl into the home, but like Zapata, the smoke was just too much.

“We just talked to her like an hour and a half ago,” Moon said about the woman. He also said he had concerns about the woodburning stove.

“I told her that thing wasn’t safe.” Both men seemed concerned for their friend.

Burnside said Saturday he didn’t know about the rescue efforts of the young boy and neighbors because by the time firefighters finished, the crowd had disbursed. He said he’d like to talk to the boy about his heroic attitude.

Burnside was glad Zapata used common sense and didn’t enter the burning home, but was proud to hear that the boy saw the fire and quickly responded to try and help the woman.

At the scene, Zapato’s mother said she was proud of her son, but also scared when she realized he was trying to rescue someone from a burning building.

Zapata, who didn’t have a coat on, huddled in his mother’s car while watching the firefighters at work.

“I’m just cold now,” he said. It was about 28 degrees.

Quick Response

2 minutes 48 seconds.

Duncan police, Duncan firefighters were quickly on the scene after the first call came into dispatch services.

“Under three minutes,” Burnside said. “The location of the substation (helped), and a quick response. We try day or night to leave and get out (to scene) as fast and quick as possible.”

An ambulance was requested and CPR was administered to the woman and she was transported to Duncan Regional Hospital.

“Our guys found her and immediately began CPR,” Burnside said. She was then mediflighted to Oklahoma City.

“We did a quick entry and search and rescue while the attack crew began fighting the fire. They did an excellent job.”

Duncan Power was also requested and arrived within 15 to 20 minutes later. The firefighters had the blaze knocked out though within minutes upon their arrival.

Burnside said the woman died from smoke inhalation and the home was a loss, with about $60,000 estimated damage. He said the woman’s next of kin has been notified.

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