Chouteau Police Department was first on the scene of a structure fire early Thursday morning.
Officer Chad Nave was making a routine stop at Fiesta Mart in Chouteau at 5:42 a.m. when a bystander told him a house was on fire.
When Nave arrived at the scene, the trailer home was engulfed in flames and the resident was lying in the yard in front of the fire.
Jack Howard, 53, lives alone.
Nave said his first response was to get Howard away from the fire. He was assisted by two bystanders and a passing highway patrol officer.
Chouteau Fire Department responded and called for mutual aid from Pryor and Flat Rock Fire Departments.
Howard’s neighbor, Shirley Gardner, said she heard what sounded like an explosion from her bedroom.
“I was laying in bed and I heard a small explosion, then a much louder bigger one. I ran and looked out my window and the trailer was completely engulfed in flames,” said Gardner.
“I ran outside because I knew Jack was in there and he’s severely disabled, he’s on oxygen and he doesn’t get around real well,” said Gardner. “I started screaming at the officer that Jack was inside and he said they already got him away from the house.”
Gardner said the trailer was completely engulfed within a few minutes of the first explosion she heard.
“It’s a miracle he got himself to the porch, I really thought he was gone,” said Gardner.
She recalled the flames being so large, and burning so quickly, that she feared it would spread to her house.
“I hope and pray Jack’s OK,” she said.
Mayes Emergency Services Trust Authority transported Howard to the Hillcrest Hospital burn unit in Tulsa with burns covering 30 percent of his body. He was in stable condition at that time.
Chouteau Fire Department got the blaze under control, but the structure was a total loss along with a van parked outside. No cause has been determined for the fire.