Thanksgiving house fire spread due to oxygen tanks in home; cause still unknown

fire firefighters look over the remains of a house fire that left two without a home Thursday...
fire firefighters look over the remains of a house fire that left two without a home Thursday evening.(Eric Franklin)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 11:01 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A house went up in flames Thanksgiving evening in Killeen and while the cause is still under investigation, the homeowners and the Killeen Fire Dept. said the fire spread quickly because there were multiple oxygen tanks in the home.

John and Giselle Arman lived in the house on Jim Avenue which caught fire on Thanksgiving Day.

According to the Killeen Fire Chief, James Kubinski, the fire started around 5:30 p.m., however, firefighters were still on scene around 10 p.m.

John Arman, a disabled veteran, was the only one in the home when the fire started in a backroom addition to the house. He was able to get out safely thanks to his smoke detectors. His daughter Whisha Washington said he had just changed the batteries on the smoke alarms earlier in the month when Day Light Savings time started.

“Without a doubt, his life was saved by a smoke detector undoubtedly,” said Kubinski.

Chief Kubinski said having working smoke detectors was even more valuable considering the family had several oxygen tanks in the house for medical reasons.

“Fire spreads and doubles in size every thirty seconds without any oxygen,” Chief Kubinski said “But now that we have oxygen feeding the fire it was causing a rapid spread and it moved through the house pretty quickly. It was in the roof before we even arrived on scene,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Killeen Fire Dept. said the house is a total loss. The family lost everything including their father’s wheel chair.

Now they are asking the community to help in getting basic items like clothes, shoes, etc for them to survive.

They have created a GoFundMe page as well as the following list of items they still need.

John: Pants/shirts: 5x - 6x, Shoes: 11, Boxers/Briefs: 6x

Giselle: Pants/shirts: 2x, Shoes: 8, Bra: 38c, Panties: 2x/9

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