Altus Fire Department responded to a house fire at 410 W. Commerce Street, after 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8, which resulted in a 100 percent structural loss and 90 percent loss of personal contents, according to Fire Chief Jerry Abbott.
After a preliminary investigation, and witness statements, Abbott determined that the fire started on the stove top in the kitchen due to unattended children playing with the knobs. Abbott stated that the cause was also provided by witness information.
When fire fighters arrived on scene they made immediate entry to search for a possible child in the residence later turning out to be an adult.
“We later found out that the child was accounted for and it was a 26 year-old-adult that was missing,” Chief Abbott said. “The adult showed up across the street and it was never reported back to us.”
A resident of the home, Cheryl Bunts, stated that they had to break through a window of the back of the house with her kids and jump out to avoid the flames. “It just happened so quick,” Bunts said.
In total the Altus Fire Department responded with nine fire fighters and two engines. Jackson County EMS provided support to victims who were uninjured. Altus Police and the American Red Cross also were on scene.
Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Rogers stated that with the extra personnel they were able to assign a crew to perform an initial search without a hose line, while another crew attacked the fire with a hose line. During the search, firefighters used a thermal imager to help scan the inside of the residence.