Durant House Fire Kills Two People - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant House Fire Kills Two People

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DURANT, OK -- Firefighters say they believe a space heater started an early morning house fire that killed two people. Two others were able to escape the burning building unharmed.

The residents were sleeping when the fire started early Wednesday morning, but only two of the four people made it out. The two fire victims were just starting their adult lives.

Two residents in the Durant home woke up in the early morning to the smell of smoke and the sight of flames. "Fire, smoke everywhere," says resident Craig Johnson.

Johnson says he went to look for Kathleen Jolly, 23, and her boyfriend Troy Coburn, who just turned 18. "She was in the bedroom there and the fire had engulfed the bedroom pretty much but I went in twice and was unable to make it in to get her out," says Johnson.

"I heard some screaming and hollering and I got out and looked around and I saw the lady running that way with my waterhose," says neighbor Edward Waller.

When firefighters arrived around 4:30 a.m., the house at Third and West Tennessee was too dangerous to go inside, Durant Fire Marshal Wade Boyd said.

"When they initially got here, they laid lines and attempted to go into the house, but it was simply too hot and they had to back up and go in defensive mode," says Boyd.

"There was smoke all down the street there was smoke shooting out the top of the roof," says witness Belinda Jo Wright.

Witnesses say that after getting out of the burning house, the couple rushed next door. They were trying to get the two people inside out, but the fire was just too hot and there was nothing they could do.

"We were unable to get them out after making several attempts and they died in the fire," says Johnson. "It's been a real tragedy. My wife is devastated."

"Katie and Troy I think were about to get married when he turned 18 or 19," says Wright.

Boyd says it appears a space heater caused the fire, now family members and friends are struggling with the loss of two people they thought had so much life ahead.

"She was really joyful, everybody loved her, she loved her family very much," says sister Stephanie Jolly.

The two people who escaped are staying with family members. Boyd says they found the plug-in space heater close to the bed, but they do not know whether the fire sparked in the wall, or on something that touched the heater.