A space heater too close to flammable material is blamed for a house fire early Wednesday in Oklahoma City that left a mother and her four children dead.(Photo: KWTV)
A house fire that killed an Oklahoma City woman and her four children was started by a space heater that was too close to flammable material, according to fire officials.
The blaze broke out early Wednesday in northwest Oklahoma City, quickly engulfing the home.
The dead were identified as Jeanine Bonnet, 28, Natalie Leon, 8, Samantha Leon, 7, Matthew Leon, 5, and Kara Leon, 3.
Bonnet's boyfriend, Brian Poletto, 39, was hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns.
"When we got on scene, we had reports that there were children inside," fire department Maj. Tammy McKinney said, according to the Associated Press.
"The fire was so intense that we could not make entry and had to knock
the fire down before we could make entry. That's when we found the
The Oklahoman reported that a space heater had been sitting too close to flammable material and touched off the fire.
that there were no working smoke detectors in the house. The TV station
also reported that the house had not had any gas service since 2008.
Ruppert, who rented a room at the house and escaped the flames, told
the AP that the children typically stayed with their father, but were
visiting their mother for Christmas.
"They were really good little kids, really nice little kids," Donald Povilonis, a friend of the family, told KOTV.