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Victims Of Creek County Wildfire Sympathize With Colorado Victims

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Watching news coverage as firefighters in Colorado struggle with the largest wildfire in that state's history brings back bad memories for Claudine Holden. Watching news coverage as firefighters in Colorado struggle with the largest wildfire in that state's history brings back bad memories for Claudine Holden.
Holden said they had just enough insurance to pay for a new, smaller home and she's so grateful for the generous help from friends and neighbors to cover some other costs. Holden said they had just enough insurance to pay for a new, smaller home and she's so grateful for the generous help from friends and neighbors to cover some other costs.
Billy Cloud, 36, of Bristow, has been charged with third-degree arson in the Creek County wildfires. Billy Cloud, 36, of Bristow, has been charged with third-degree arson in the Creek County wildfires.
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Many people in Creek County know exactly what the folks in Colorado are going through this week. In a matter of only a few days, wildfires destroyed about 400 homes in Creek County last August.

It's been a tough recovery process, as people try to replace everything they lost and move forward.

Watching news coverage as firefighters in Colorado struggle with the largest wildfire in that state's history, seeing hundreds of homes destroyed so far, and people forced to evacuate, it brings back bad memories for Claudine Holden.

6/13/2013 Related Story: Oklahoman Gets Firsthand View Of Colorado's Wildfires

It also brings tears.

"Because I've been there, and it is sad, honey," Holden said.

She cries because she knows their sense of fear and loss.

"I just sympathize and pray for them, that's all you can do right now," she said.

In August, Holden's son showed me what was left of his mom and dad's house not far off Highway 48 in Creek County. A wildfire that burned nearly 60,000 acres destroyed their home and just about everything they own.

8/15/2012 Related Story: Looters Pick Through Debris Of Homes Burned In Wildfires

"You've just got to go forward. It's hard. It is very hard to do it," Holden said.

Especially hard since the couple had lived there for 35 years.

"I cry, because it's your life savings," she said.

Even facing health problems and at 74, Holden and her husband have worked hard for months to clean up their place.

"Some people, it doesn't seem to bother them as bad, and some people--my husband can't talk about it, he just can't," Holden said.

Holden said they had just enough insurance to pay for a new, smaller home and she's so grateful for the generous help from friends and neighbors to cover some other costs.

9/19/2012 Related Story: Bristow Man Charged With Arson In Tragic Creek County Wildfires

There is still work to do, but right now Holden's worried about people in Colorado, including a grandson who hasn't had to evacuate yet.

"That's it. It can be nothing and all at once it's there, you'd better get out while you can if you want to live," Holden said.

Wildfire victims can still get assistance which is coordinated through First Methodist Church in Mannford.

An assessment will be done and needs are then prioritized.

The man who has been charged with starting the fire in Creek County by carelessly throwing down a burning cigarette, Billy Cloud, still hasn't been found.

Complete Oklahoma Wildfire Coverage

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