2 men arrested for allegedly setting fire to evict residents; 1 woman, 2 dogs dead

Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 7:08 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 12:41 PM CST
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McCURTAIN COUNTY, Okla. (KSLA) — Two men are in custody following a house fire that led to a woman’s death.

On Feb. 20, deputies responded to a civil dispute west of Idabel. They say the 89-year-old property owner was trying to force people living in the residence out. The owner told deputies that the residents hadn’t paid rent in over two years. Deputies advised the owner to perform the proper process to evict the residents.

After speaking with the residents, deputies say they were concerned because the owner had visited them multiple times. They were advised of the eviction process and encouraged to seek a protective order.

Officials say that neither party did as instructed and that the property owner and a friend returned March 2 allegedly to set the residence on fire. Deputies say the residents were outside at the time of the fire, but the woman went back inside to save their pets.

When law enforcement arrived, the structure was engulfed in flames. A male resident told deputies that he believed the woman was still inside and that the owner had left the area in a vehicle. The fire resulted in the death of the woman and two dogs. The man was seriously injured.

The property owner and friend are now in custody and face charges of arson and murder.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma Fire Marshal and the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner responded to assist. Currently, OSBI is taking over the case. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.

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