National Guard Helicopters Make Heroic Effort To Save Okmulgee County Building
OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Two Oklahoma Army National Guard helicopter crews made a heroic effort to save a building from a fire in Okmulgee County Thursday evening.
The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were using large buckets to bomb the wildfire with water when their crews saw a large shop building catch fire. Firefighters hadn't made it to the building on the ground yet, so the two helicopter crews directed their efforts to try to save the building.
The choppers scooped water out of Okmulgee Lake and dropped several loads on the building. The wind and the intensity of the flames worked against them and even help from firefighters on the ground couldn't save the building. Their work did keep the flames from spreading to a home nearby.
Osage SkyNews 6 HD pilot Will Kavanagh captured the operation from above. Kavanagh, a combat veteran who also flies Black Hawks for the Oklahoma Army National Guard, said the UH-60s are well suited for firefighting operations.
He said the twin-engine helicopters can pick up a large amount of water in a single load and have plenty of power to spare. He said the crews also train regularly on how to fight fires.