Elderly man found dead in Lawton house fire

Elderly man found dead in Lawton house fire
After responding to a house fire in northwest Lawton, Friday morning, firefighters recovered the body of an elderly man.

LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - After responding to a house fire in northwest Lawton, Friday morning, firefighters recovered the body of an elderly man.

It all started shortly before 10 o’clock Friday morning, when a person passing by noticed smoke coming from a home in the 1700 block of NW 45th St.

It’s always unfortunate when somebody is injured, especially when somebody expires,” said Mark Mitchell, Lawton Fire Marshal. "We were fortunate from the perspective that it was during the daytime. If this would have happened late at night, there is a good chance that we would have not been alerted that there was a fire there until somebody saw flames.”

When crews arrived on scene, the home was filled with smoke and a neighbor told them there was an elderly man inside.

"When they discovered him, they could not see him real clearly,” said Mitchell. “It wasn’t like it was daylight. It was difficult conditions and not knowing for sure, they aired on the side of caution. They extricated him in case there was a need to start life-saving operations and once they got him outside, it was obvious that he had expired.”

Although fire officials are continuing to investigate what caused the fire, they suspect a tragic and unfortunate chain of events is to blame.

“I cannot eliminate the possibility of smoking being a possible heat source,” said Mitchell. “The victim was also a regular user of oxygen and there is evidence that he may have been in his chair with the oxygen on at the time of the fire.”

Mitchell says responding to calls of this nature never gets easier.

“They are still people, they’re still citizens,” said Mitchell. “Everybody deals with it differently. They have to see things they don’t want to see but they take their job seriously and they are going to do what they’ve got to do to serve the public.”

Investigators are now waiting on an autopsy report to determine the amount of carbon monoxide in the man’s system. This will tell officials if he died before or after the fire started.

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