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Major Grass Fire in NE OKC

Filed by Michael Cross in Feature, Local News, News.
August 31, 2011

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Firefighters are working hard to stamp out hot spots in northeast Oklahoma City where a three square-mile grass fire got out of control on Tuesday.

The flames destroyed several buildings in the area including at least two homes.

A fire truck races to the scene of the blaze which began shortly after noon on Tuesday.

In all about 200 firefighters join in the battle to tackle the blaze.

Even after working for several hours and finally getting it mostly under control, Oklahoma City Fire Chief Keith Bryant says he expects these brave men and women to be on the scene for several days.

“With the conditions as they are we’re going to have to keep personnel and apparatus out here for a few days more than likely to monitor the area and make sure that if something starts to flare up that we’re on it as quick as we can.”

The firefighters are joined by military aircraft dropping water as well as metropolitan area police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff John Whetsel this kind of team work is about the Oklahoma standard and neighbor helping neighbor.

“You know you see it every time you have a catastrophe, a natural disaster. Here in this fire you can turn around, I’ll bet there are 30 to 40 agencies from around the state here.”

A couple of miles away families gather in the Pleasant Hills Elementary School gymnasium after having to leave their homes.

Red Cross spokesman Rusty Surrette says many of them don’t know what they will find when they get back to their houses.

“I talked to one lady who said that the fire was coming down her neighborhood. She grabbed her three children. All they had on was diapers and they got out the door and this is where they’re at now. So, we’re trying to make sure they have food and water and whatever else.”

The Red Cross also provided food, water and cooling spots for the firefighters in the field.

They also had to open another shelter late in the evening at Forest Park Community Center to deal with those with nowhere else to go.

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