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Firefighter burned in wildfire dies

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A volunteer firefighter who was severely burned while fighting a wildfire in Stephens County earlier this month died Friday night, hospital officials confirmed.

Destry Horton, who was burned over about 50 percent of his body, was pronounced dead at Integris Baptist Medical Center, where he was being treated in the burn unit, said Kresta Logan, a corporate communications specialist for the hospital.

Horton, 32, who was volunteering for the Acme fire department, was with another firefighter when they entered a smoke-filled area near Duncan and their fire truck got stuck March 2.

Doctors were amazed that Horton survived. Besides being burned on his hands, arms, feet and face, the Chickasha resident's lungs also were burned, his family said.

Horton's wife, Brandy, said she was hopeful after he had made it past the first 72 hours since his injury and that he seemed to be doing better.

But surgeons had to amputate Horton's arms and learned that damage to his face and head was more serious than originally thought. His injuries were so severe that doctors were unable to replace the skin and tissue he lost.

Many people reached out to Horton's family. A waiting room at the hospital had been decorated with photographs, get well cards and ``Destry'' ribbons received from scores of well-wishers, relatives said.

A benefit was held Wednesday to raise money for Horton's family and four similar events were scheduled for Saturday.

Horton's death brings to at least three the number of people who have died in the nearly 3,000 fires that have scorched the drought-stricken Oklahoma landscape since Nov. 1.

At least 300 homes and businesses have been destroyed.
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