BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (AP) — Eight people were found dead in a burning Tulsa-area house in what was being investigated as multiple homicides, police said.
The fire was reported about 4 p.m. Thursday in a quiet residential area of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, 13 miles (20 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.
Broken Arrow police said that although the fire and the deaths were being investigated as homicides, they did not believe an immediate threat to the public existed.
Police spokesman Ethan Hutchins said the scene was complex “with a lot of moving parts,” so no other information was being released immediately. Witnesses told police that a family of eight had lived in the house, two adults and six children, but the bodies have not been positively identified, Hutchins said.
“Understandably, this is a shock to Broken Arrow. It’s a safe city. Broken Arrow doesn’t have this kind of situation every day,” Hutchins said.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting in the investigation, he said.
Catelin Powers said she was driving with her children nearby when she saw a column of smoke near her house, so she drove past to investigate.
“When I got closer to the house, I saw smoke pouring out from the very top of the house, which looked like maybe the attic,” she told The Associated Press.
Two men and a woman on her phone were standing in front of the house, Powers said, when another man emerged from the front door dragging an apparently unconscious, unresponsive woman. “Her arms were flopped to her sides,” she said.
“She was in either very short shorts or underwear and a tight shirt,” Power said. She described the woman as having a tan complexion “and looked maybe to be mid-twenties.”
Suspecting the woman was dead, Powers said she drove on so her children would be spared the sight.
Tragedy has struck before Broken Arrow, which is Tulsa’s biggest suburb with almost 115,000 residents. In 2015, two teenaged brothers killed their mother, father, two younger brothers and 5-year-old sister at their home — which was about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Thursday’s fatal fire.
The home where the 2015 killings occurred was later demolished and the site was transformed into a community park.