By Chris Eversole
On Oct. 31, Karl and Dea Mengers were enjoying a quiet evening – at home their dream home on nine acres of rolling hills three and a half miles south of Mustang and east of Cemetery Road.
At 8:37 p.m., Karl got a call from their alarm company, U.S. Security. “They said we had a fire, and we needed to find it,” Karl said.
He checked the attic. Nothing.
He shut off the breakers, thinking it was an electric fire. Still no clue.
Within minutes, thick black smoke blew their way. As they scurried to safety, the heat singed Karl’s hair.
Once outside, they saw that the flames were coming from the spare bedroom at the other end of their 2,700-square-foot house.
With the help of neighbor Mike Shannon, the couple vainly attempted to spray water from a hose on the fire, which was still confined to the spare bedroom.
By the time the firefighters from Oklahoma City, Mustang and Tuttle arrived, the fire had progressed too far to save the house, Karl said.
Their tanker trucks – all they had available because there’s no nearby hydrant – were no match for the leaping flames that were visible for miles around.
“The interior of the house is all rough cedar, and it just flew through the house,” Karl said. “Once it got the shingles, it spread to the attic, and it just spread in a hurry.”
During the ordeal, Dea streamed the activity on Facebook.
“My mother was upset that I didn’t called her, and she learned about it from family members who saw the streaming video,” she said. “I was busy doing other things.”
An insurance investigator concluded that a short in the cord to the treadmill in the spare bedroom had ignited the rubber mat under it.
“We had upgraded our alarm system, and we had sensors in every room,” Karl said.
“If we hadn’t upgraded the alarm system, we could have died by the time we realized what was happening.”
That realization comforts Dea. “We are well insured, and we’re doing an inventory of our personal possessions for the insurance company,” she said.
“By and large, we’re OK.”
The couple made a run to Walmart at 2:30 a.m. to pick up some clothes. Since then, they have been piecing together wardrobes.
Since then, people have donated clothing as well as gift cards.
Clothes can be replaced; their incinerated family pictures can’t.
Their insurance will cover a hotel room or an apartment, but the Mengers have opted to stay in their RV at the property so they can care for their chickens and rabbits.
The emotional recovery is a day by day process. “I haven’t slept much,” Dea said.
“The first couple nights, I would get up in the middle of night and spray water on the flames that came up.”
The other day, Dea was monitoring her driveway on her smartphone. “Do you know anyone with a white van?” she asked Karl.
The two of them tossed around several possible names before they realized it was the mailman.
“We have the heebie-jeebies,” Dea told a reporter.
The couple bought the secluded property at 12600 Scott Lane two and a half years ago – immediately falling in love with it when they saw it.
“We’ve worked all our lives to have something like this,” Kail said.
Now they’re tinkering with plans for a new home on the same spot.
Spaghetti dinner will help couple
Karl and Dea Mengers are known for their generosity. Now it’s their turn to receive –
as the Mustang community helps them recover from their home burning.
The Mustang Chamber of Commerce and Masonic Lodge 407 are sponsoring a spaghetti dinner at 6 p.m. Monday, at the lodge, 406 E. State Route 152.
Karl Menger resisted, saying that he’s confident insurance will cover the couple’s losses. “They wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said.
Chamber President and CEO Renee Peerman said the community is repaying a debt of gratitude.
One example of Karl Mengers’ generosity is that he has donated 1,000 square feet of space for the chamber office in the building that houses his business – Weichert Realtors, Main Edge.
“The community as a whole has greatly benefited from their involvement,” Peerman said. “We have an opportunity to return some of that goodwill to them now.”