TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa Police officer caught a baby that was dropped to him from a balcony as residents desperately tried to escape the smoke and flames shooting from an apartment fire early this morning.
Dozens of residents were displaced from the fire at the Whispering Oaks Apartments at 1140 S. 101st E. Ave. about 6:30 a.m. No deaths were reported. One person was taken to the hospital, according to Tulsa police.
Tulsa police officers leaving a morning squad meeting saw the fire and "immediately ran over and started banging on doors trying to get folks out," said Cpl. Brian Collum.
Tulsa Police contacted the Tulsa Fire Department.
As many as 86 residents who evacuated were housed at the Tulsa Police Department Mingo Valley Division adjacent to the burning structure, said Fire Capt. Stan May.
An estimated 12 units were affected by the fire, May said. At least two sustained heavy smoke and fire damage.
As heavy smoke crept near her apartment, Adrienne Smith and her boyfriend dropped a toddler from a balcony into the waiting arms of Tulsa Police Officer Alan Franks.
"If he hadn't been there, I don't know what I would have done," Smith said. "Everything was engulfed. I couldn't see anything. I was screaming for help."
Smith and her boyfriend were able to escape without injury. The baby, who was only wearing socks and wrapped in a blanket, was not harmed.
A 19-year police veteran, Franks said he hadn't been involved in a rescue while on duty prior to Monday's fire.
"I was nervous," he said. "I was just thinking don't drop the baby."
Some residents whose units were not impacted by the fire will be able to return to their apartments once power to the building has been restored, May said.
Some residents were treated for smoke inhalation, Collum said. At least one person was transported by EMSA to a local hospital after he was found unconscious outside the building.
No deaths were reported, May said.
Thomas Sanders and his two roommates were sleeping in their second floor unit when the fire started.
"There was too much chaos, so much moving around, fire and smoke," Sanders said, who ran from the apartment without shoes. "I was just trying to get my roommates out."
The Tulsa chapter of the American Red Cross provided assistance at the scene.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
The cause of the fire has not been determined.