Victims Of Skiatook Fire Talk About Losing Home

Monday, January 20th 2014, 10:34 pm
By: News On 6

Burning brush caused a Skiatook home to burn to the ground over the weekend. When firefighters got there, the home was already consumed with flames.

The family spoke about their smoldering home and how the local fire marshal said an earlier wildfire contributed.

1/18/14 Related Story: Grass Fires Spread Across Green Country

Fire investigators believe embers jumped a nearby fire line, and raced up the hillside catching the home on fire.

One of the victims, Emily Mapes, said, "Coming up this hill for the first time and seeing it, that was probably the hardest thing."

Emily Mapes and her brother Eli got a phone call that their childhood home got destroyed in a fire.

"It was still burning back by the time we got up here, they actually, the fire department, had to come back a couple times because it kept coming back. This would keep lighting on fire," Mapes said.

You can help the Mapes here.

SkyNews6 Pilot, Will Kavanagh flew above as a large ring of fire surrounded the Mapes' home.

"Looks like these are remnants of a grass fire and the result of what happens here. This is a large house right now, a large structure fire, the fire department just showed up on scene," Kavanagh said.

A neighbor spotted the flames, but by the time Skiatook Firefighters arrived, it was too late.

Skiatook Fire Marshal, Robert Nail, said, "The fire was well-involved in the residence, in the residential structure prior to the neighbors even seeing that it was going on."

He believes an extreme wind change picked up embers from a nearby wildfire that crews contained earlier in the day.

The burnt grass burned up to the home catching the siding on fire.

Childhood memories are lost for Eli Mapes. The hilltop home served as a gathering place for friends and family.

"It was windy, I knew it. I knew it was dry. I knew it was a fire, grass fire," Eli said.

The Mapes' know the threat of a wildfire is part of living in the country.

"It's hard to know, no matter what you do, Mother Nature is always going to do what it's going to do," Emily said.

Fire Investigators say homeowners need to be vigilant this time of year. Keeping your property clear of dead leaves and brush may prevent a fire.

"As long as we are under the drought conditions with high winds, neighbors need to be watching neighbors' property," Nail said.

The Mapes lost everything and the children are raising funds for their mom and dad.

The money will be used to rent a temporary home and help with rebuilding costs.