Man's best friend really earned her keep this morning. Before most us were out of out of bed this morning, a family's dog was barking to alert them of a house fire. Gypsy, a Rott and Pitt mix sounded the alarm for Jesse and Judy Odom and Judy's son Dewey Wells. When flames broke out before 6 a.m. she barked and woke them up.
The family had been dealing with frozen pipes from the February Freeze at their home in the 3800 Block of Hammon Road. They were using a space heater to keep the pipes warm. Fire crews think the heater may have sparked the blaze.
Crews from the Wichita East VFD responded to the blaze, but icy roads made the travel there treacherous. "The roads are pretty slick and our trucks are pretty heavy and they slosh around a lot," said Assistant Chief Hayden Hansen. Once on-scene, rifle rounds in the front room made it dangerous for Firefighters. "We had rifle shells blowing up, so we had to clear the area. We sure didn't want to get shot," said Hansen.
The two story wooden home was a total loss. "Once it got going it was just like toothpicks," Hansen said. The family reports they had moved the home to its current location from Holliday, TX. Friends of the family said they had done a great deal of work to restore the home.
Dewey Wells spoke with Newschannel 6 over the phone Thursday evening. He said the Red Cross put the family in a hotel for the week, but friends and family were already pitching in to help them out. "People have been great," he said. "A lot of people know us and I'm sure more will come and help when they find out it is us," said Wells.
Within hours of the fire, friends had set up an account to benefit the family. If you would like to donate, head to any First Bank location and deposit into account # 4019997. The names on account are Jesse and Judy Odom.
Hansen says it took 4 trucks and 8 Firefighters around 3 hours to put the fire out. Members of the Wichita County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division also responded to the scene and are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Hansen offers advice for those that use space heaters during the February Freeze. "You just want to make sure you have a heater that is approved for that purpose and not put it too close to anything that can catch fire," he said.
Newschannel 6 expects to hear more from the Odom / Wells family in the coming days. Check back for updates as to how Texoma comes together and rallies for them.
As for Gypsy, the canine life saver, Wells has high regard. "She's a hero!" said Wells.
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