A space heater sitting too close to flammable material started a house fire early Wednesday that killed a mother and her four children in northwest Oklahoma City, authorities said.
Jeanine Bonnet, 28, Natalie Leon, 8, Samantha Leon, 7, Matthew Zackary Leon, 5, and Kara Leon, 3, perished in the fire, which started about 6:30 a.m. at 2816 Dorchester Drive. Brian Poletto, 39, Bonnet's boyfriend, was severely burned in the fire and was in critical condition Wednesday at Integris Baptist Medical Center.
Bonnet was divorced from the children's father, Matthew Leon, of Blanchard, but they were friends and shared custody of the children, said Frankie Leon, the children's grandmother.
“Jeanine was a good mother,” Frankie Leon said. “She took care of her children.”
Toni Wyatt lives in the Dorchester Apartments, next door to the house that burned. She said she smelled smoke and heard three loud pops about 6:30 a.m. She went outside to a front window of the burning home.
“I heard a guy yelling, ‘Help! Help!' I went over to see what was going on and helped pull the guy out of the house,” Wyatt said.
She said she then ran from the house across the lawn to get blankets and call 911.
Fire Battalion Chief Randy Cornelius said crews battled intense flames as firefighters found the bodies. The bodies of three dogs also were found inside.
“This was an intense fire,” Cornelius said. “It was pretty dangerous.”