Amid Heartbreak, Loss Creek County Homeowners Still Feel 'Blessed'

Sunday, August 5th 2012, 11:30 pm
By: News On 6

A lifetime of memories, gone in a flash.

"It's a lot of years, a lot of memories, it's hard," Clarence Smith said.

Smith grew up on this land just off State Highway 48 near Mannford.

He's an up-and-coming photographer, but escaped so quickly, his camera and pretty much everything else was left behind to be taken by fire.

"That is the fastest I think I have ever ran in my life," Smith said. "When it was eyeball distance away from my own driveway, it was the scariest thing I've ever seen, literally."

Just up the road, Catherine Belt and her family are reminiscing over three decades worth of memories in a home that's now just a pile of charred rubble.

"I didn't know what to think when I first pulled up, so I just sat in the car for a little bit," Belt said. "I just didn't know what to do."

In all, eight of Belt's family members, many of whom live on the same country road, lost their home to the raging wildfires Saturday.

See full coverage of Oklahoma Wildfires

The reality is only starting to set in.

"Sadness mainly because I've lived here for 30 years, and everything's gone," she said. "But we're gonna make it. By the grace of God, we're gonna make it."

Gov. Mary Fallin was on the ground in Creek County, where she got a first-hand look at some of the damage and visited with families who no longer have a place to call home.

"We're heartbroken," Fallin said. "I'm just always thankful when families can get their families out, that's the most important thing. We can replace the personal items, but it's family members you can't replace."

It's a sentiment that resonates with Belt, who says despite such a devastating loss, she's still a very blessed woman.

" Because I've got my family and I've got God, that's they way I feel about it," Belt said.

And a positive attitude that's gonna help bring her out on top.