After Narrow Escape, Mannford Man Shocked To Find Home Standing

Sunday, August 5th 2012, 10:59 pm
By: Tess Maune

Looking at the damage in Creek County, it's clear the raging wildfire knew no path.

Through the ashes of destruction lie a few stories of survival, homes that were miraculously spared.

"I had literally seconds to get out of here," Sonny Janes said. "It was on me before I knew what was going on."

Over the weekend, more than 58,000 acres of the county had burned to a crisp.

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Janes narrowly escaped a fiery wrath that was headed straight to his home Saturday night.

"You could feel the heat through the car windows, it was… I mean… it was on top of us and it was moving," he said.

With only one way out, Janes had one option: To drive directly into the flames that were moving in faster than he knew possible.

"I couldn't see my house for the smoke; it was nothing but flames all the way across," Janes said. "The house across the street was already engulfed."

And through all the madness -- the fire and the smoke -- there's one specific picture that will be forever etched in Janes' memory.

"I look up and through the smoke there was probably five or six horses coming out of the smoke," he said. "That just looked like something out of a movie."

Janes said as he pulled away, he thought it would be the last time he'd see his home standing.

He never expected to find it sitting peacefully amid the destruction.

"If you go around my house, it's like there was [a protective cover] over it and the fire just would not touch a certain area."

"The grace of God is the only thing that could have saved us," Janes said.

A blessing that's left Janes thankful, yet ridden with guilt.

"I have no damage, and I feel horrible because all my friends have lost so much and I was hardly touched," he said. "I don't know why I was spared compared to everybody else. I prayed, but I know everyone else out there did, too."

Janes' mission now, is to help his neighbors by petitioning to everyone to drop of donations of any kind to Lake Church, which is at State Highways 48 and 51 in Mannford.