By Brody Feldmann
A local family is going through an extended nightmare after their house went up in flames early April 9.
“Our community has taken what was a really poor situation, I was starting to lose faith in humanity, and they have really helped restore it,” said Stephanie Gibson, victim of a house fire and three burglaries.
The house in the 400 block of W Elder Drive, in the Heights, caught fire around 2:30 a.m. and woke the family due to the smell of smoke and sound of popping.
In the garage, the family found an oil heater, which had been running hours before but since unplugged, on fire. It quickly turned into flames, engulfing the garage.
By the time the Mustang Fire Department arrived, the fire had spread upstairs, into the attic and to most of the house. The Gibsons were informed that the soot in the house was toxic and that nothing in the house would be salvageable. One of those items was Gibson’s wedding ring.
Friends and family met at the house and went to a local restaurant for breakfast around 6:30.
When they returned to the house, the family was welcomed by the clothes of one of the daughters strewn all over the front yard. Neighbors informed them that a couple of looters had been there collecting anything metal they could get their hands on and that included the oil heater and the dryer.
“It was anything metal that they felt would be of value,” Gibson said. “They threw my daughter’s clothes in the yard. Her personal items were flapping about in the wind and rain. She is 16 years old and she was horrified.”
That was not the end of the nightmare.
A few days later, the family learned that someone had broken into the boarded-up house and taken goods such as an Xbox, Xbox games, piggybanks, cologne, broken cell phones and a guitar.
The family believes this burglary was conducted by someone who had been in the house before.
“I have to feel like it was someone we know that might have known what was in the house before. The reason I felt like it was someone that we knew was because I don’t think a stranger would know that the house wasn’t complete ash inside,” said Gibson.
Then again, in the last week to 10 days, the house was broken into, and the intruders walked away with the family’s chainsaw and lawnmower. But, this time Gibson believes that the burglary was random.
“You couldn’t ask for a better community than what Mustang has. It has just been incredible to see,” Gibson said.
The Gibson’s are scheduled to move back into the home within the next month.
Another Heights Fire
Engines 2, 3 and 33 responded to a structure fire in the 600 block of W Juniper on the morning of Oct. 18.
A son and mother called in a fire in the attic that was possibly started by the heater in the bathroom.
The son flipped the switch to turn on the bathroom heater when he heard a pop, which caused the electricity to go out in the bathroom.
The mother looked around the house but didn’t find any flames, although they smelled smoke. So, she laid back in bed.
A few minutes later, the mother smelled smoke and decided to look in the attic, where she found smoke and called 911 as they escaped the house safely.