“We did determine the cause, the source of the fire was from the utility room,” Walters told the Pilot News today. “It wasn’t criminal at all. It was a malfunction of something in the home.”
Walters, who lives nearby the Oldham’s former home, said that he had heard from family members that Oldham was still in serious condition.
“The victim did wake up today, but he is still in critical condition,” said Walters. “There wasn’t too much hope yesterday, but now that he is awake and they are still treating him (the family) has more hope.”
As the family of Oldham gather in Fort Wayne at the St. Joseph Hospital Burn Center, the account of what happened Thursday has shifted.
Oldham was rescued from his home after fire engulfed the residence at 3038 Baugher Drive. Scanner traffic at the time of the fire stated that Oldham refused to leave his residence.
That’s not true according to Oldham’s sister, Mary Thacker.
Thacker said that the flames and smoke prevented Oldham from being able to exit the residence.
A spokesperson for the Tippecanoe Township Fire Department told the Pilot News that Oldham was unable to leave after he attempted to recover the family’s dog.
Marshall County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jeff Sharp was at the scene for Thursday’s blaze.
Sharp said that Oldham works third shift and that he was at home and asleep at the time of the fire. The 911 call came over at 11:39 a.m.
Sharp said that witnesses went over to the home and contact with Oldham. “That first report was incorrect,” said Sharp of Oldham not wanting to leave the residence.
Witnesses said that Oldham communicated that he wanted to leave but wanted to retrieve the longtime family dog. The dog had already left the residence.
Sharp said at that point Oldham was overcome with smoke and when firefighters entered the home, Oldham was discovered by the master bedroom doorway.
As of Friday afternoon, Oldham was in critical but stable condition and Sharp said he was told Oldham was responding to commands.
“My brother is a teriffic husband, father, friend neighbor and worker,” said Thacker. “He’s very tough, very strong. And thanks to the heroics of the fire department, his children can have their father, his wife has her husband and his mother has her son.”
(Reprinted with permission from the Pilot-News)