Fire Chief: Arson To Blame For Pittsburg County Wildfire
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - Firefighters say an arsonist may be to blame for a wildfire in Pittsburg County that burned 6,000 acres and destroyed at least nine homes.
Firefighters are still checking on hot spots but said they don't expect any more flare ups - which is good news for people who live in the area, like Stacy Moon.
"We seen a spark hit that cabin and it just went ‘whoosh,’" he said.
Moon said he and his family are lucky to be alive after the fire nearly destroyed his property.
Moon and a neighbor tried to protect their homes with garden hoses but couldn't save everything. Moon's parents lived in a cabin behind his house - the only things left now are ashes.
"The people that was over here, up on the hill, they said there was so much smoke they said they couldn't even see us it was so bad," he said.
Moon said he and his neighbors evacuated, unsure if there would be anything left when they came back. In all, officials said about 100 people had to evacuate.
Moon said he's thankful for the forestry service airplane that saved his home.
"When the plane came in he was dropping water down on my house. He said I had embers all on top of my house and it was on fire and he was dropping so much water that he actually knocked my drain pipes off - that's how much water was coming off there," Moon said.
While looking at the damage, firefighters showed up to check on hot spots.
Longtown Fire Chief Danny Choate said this is the worst wildfire he's fought in years, and he thinks someone started it.
"We're actually going to try to find out who did this. This affected lots and lots of people," Choate said.
Moon said he's thankful for the volunteers working around the clock to keep his family and others safe.
"We've got one heck of a fire company around here - they brought in, I don't know how many different units from towns was in here, and I was sure glad they were here," he said.
More than 18 fire departments were called in to help.
As for what he's going to do now, Moon said he'll keep going, “We're just going to start over, that's all you can do."
Three people suffered from smoke inhalation but are otherwise okay.
Fire officials also said several buildings were destroyed including two large homes.
The firefighters in the area are volunteers and don't get paid, it's just what they do for their community.