Authorities: 4 bodies found inside burned home

AP News
Posted: Nov 09, 2009 5:09 PM

Firefighters found four people dead in a burning southwest Oklahoma City home early Monday, and homicide detectives were looking for clues about what had happened.

Firefighters arrived at the home around 5:20 a.m. and found the one-story brick building engulfed in flames, Battalion Chief Brian Jackson said. They managed to pull one body from the house, but the rest of the victims "were too far gone," he said.

The cause of the fire and the deaths remained under investigation.

All four were pronounced dead at the scene. Three of the victims were female, and one was male, according to the state medical examiner's office. The names and ages of the victims have not been released.

"As they were on their fire attack and search and rescue, they found the victims," Deputy Chief Cecil Clay said of the firefighters. "As they were continuing their attack they were finding more victims."

Police investigators still were searching through the burned-out structure in the middle-class neighborhood Monday morning, but Sgt. Gary Knight said that is routine for any fire fatality.

While the roof and outside of the home remained intact, Clay said the interior was heavily damaged.

"It doesn't look that bad on the outside, but it was extremely hot in there," Clay said. "There was a piece of metal guttering on the back that was melted, so that's at least 1,200 degrees."

Jackson said it was too early to determine how or where the blaze started or if the home had working smoke detectors.

Melvin Watkins, whose family owns the home, said he rented it about three months ago to Jose Fernando Fierro, who told him he had two children who visited him occasionally.

Watkins said he dropped off some items at a shed there Sunday evening.

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"He was watching me and waved at me," Watkins said. "That's the last connection I had with him."

Court records show Fierro, 31, has had at least three protective orders sought against him, including one in Cleveland County sought by his ex-wife, Natalie Moon Lim, in July.

In her petition for the order, Lim, whose last name also is spelled Linn in some court records, claims Fierro was verbally and physically abusive. The protective order was dismissed after Lim failed to appear in court, records show.

Telephone messages left with Lim on Monday were not returned.

Monday's fire came less than a week after another blaze at a southwest Oklahoma City apartment building several miles away that killed three people. Investigators have said that fire was intentionally set.