Grass Fire Burns Three Wagoner County Homes

Tuesday, February 18th 2014, 5:02 pm
By: News On 6

Several homes burned to the ground in Wagoner County on Tuesday. Now investigators are looking at an unusual cause.

Railroad police are investigating whether the fire started along the train tracks near Tullahassee.

Emergency managers don't believe anyone lived in the homes, but neighbors who do live nearby said flames raced across their backyard right after a train went through.

Homeowner Willard Judkins, said, "I heard the train go by just a few minutes before a guy come by through the yard and said, 'there's a fire out here.'"

Homeowners near the Muskogee Turnpike and Highway 69 scrambled to protect their property from several fast moving wildfires.

In Wagoner County, grass fires popped up along the railroad tracks all the way to Coweta and Oneta.

Heath Underwood, with Wagoner County Emergency Management, said, "We had multiple fires throughout the county along this area that we've been monitoring. We finally got them under control."

Paul Rodriguez's family watched as the 150-acre grass fire moved north from the tracks and onto their property.

"I had luckily mowed it down and it was Just about 6 to 8 inches tall, but it just kept jumping from one place to another place to another place," Rodriguez said.

Fire crews from Muskogee County came in to help knock down the flames.

"They did a great job, they did a great job," Rodriguez said.

Homeowners are still in shock after seeing how fast the fire burned up several fields, hay bales and old buildings.

"It was just a terrible mess," said Judkins.

The wind died down significantly, but Wagoner County issued a burn ban because of the dry conditions.

Union Pacific Railroad said at this point in there investigation they don't believe the flames came from the tracks.