Oklahoma sports historian Ray Soldan's house burns

Retired Oklahoman sports writer Ray Soldan's home burned early Tuesday. He had been smoking turkeys at his Del City home, which contained volumes of high school sports historical data and information.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY rmedley@opubco.com Modified: November 22, 2011 at 11:18 am •  Published: November 22, 2011

— A fire broke out early Tuesday at the home of a man who had been smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving.

The fire started about 2 a.m. and heavily damaged the home of former Oklahoman sports writer Ray Soldan, 83. Soldan escaped the house, which contained volumes of high school sports historical data, and was not injured.

Del City Fire Maj. Brandon Pursell said Soldan was awake and heard the fire alarm at his house at 901 Howard Drive.

Pursell said Soldan had smoked the turkeys Sunday and put the ashes into a trash can on the patio Monday.

“He did everything right and had let the ashes cool for a while,” Pursell said.

A fire started in the trash can, and the wind caused it to spread to the house, Pursell said.

The fire caused $200,000 in damage to the 2,000 square-foot house and its contents.

Soldan has a hearing problem and likely would not have heard the smoke alarm if he had been asleep, his daughter told firefighters.

“We're fortunate for that,” Pursell said. Traffic in the area near Del Crest Middle School is no longer detoured, he added.

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