Investigators Believe Broken Arrow Grass Fire Was Started By Minor

Monday, February 17th 2014, 5:28 pm
By: Tess Maune

A fast-moving grass fire burned alongside a busy Broken Arrow intersection Monday. Many homes and businesses were in the direct line of fire as flames charred nearly 20 acres at Kenosha and Aspen.

Fire investigators believe a child may be to blame.

Firefighters won't say the age of the child, but said they believe a minor, who was possibly playing with matches, started the fire.

It's a heavily populated area, with a neighborhood, an apartment complex and many businesses and retailers close by.

What started as a small grass fire quickly grew into a dangerous inferno.

Captain Alan Cross, with the Broken Arrow Fire Department, said, "Due to the wind and conditions today, it grew quite large and got a little overwhelming for a little bit."

With homes just feet away from the fire, firefighters lined the street armed with water hoses to help knock down the flames.

From Osage SkyNews 6, you could see children watch as the burning brush inched closer and closer to their neighborhood.

"I thought that the fire could get on the street and it could burn my house down," said 14-year-old Juan Mendez.

It was a juvenile, who firefighters believe likely started the fire. Mendez said he was not responsible, but knows who was. He said he even tried to stop the fire before it grew.

"Had a match and she lit a little piece of grass and the wind caught it and got everything on fire," Mendez said. "Me, and some friends, were in back over there and there was a little fire and we started stomping on the fire."

It wasn't just homes that were put in danger; the fire actually came onto the property of one drywall business, leaving workers scrambling to move their products to safety.

Al Semento of Freeman Drywall Products, said, "It was widespread panic, we could smell it and it was coming from that direction, just coming towards us."

Semento said the fire came within two feet of the manufacturing plant. While he was trying to fight off the flames himself, other workers were rushing to save semi-trucks, hundreds of wood pallets and propane tanks that were in the direct line of fire.

Fortunately, no homes or businesses were damaged or destroyed and no injuries were reported.

There is currently no word if child will be charged or get in any kind of trouble.