Linemen Work To Restore Power To Wildfire-Ravaged Creek County

Sunday, August 5th 2012, 6:06 pm
By: News On 6

Utility employees are working around the clock to restore power to areas in Creek County affected by the raging wildfires.

Power to Mannford is split between sources: The Grand River Dam Authority sells wholesale to the City of Mannford, and OG&E and Indian Electric Cooperative service some of Mannford's outlying rural areas.

The main line feeding the City of Mannford was damaged in the fires, but GRDA crews worked through the night and all day Sunday to get power restored to the city early Sunday evening, spokesperson Justin Alberty said.

 "We realize there is still much to do in the aftermath of the fires, but hats off to all the firemen, linemen, responders and others for all they've done already," Alberty said.

OG&E said power near Drumright and Mannford was out for more than 2,000 customers on Saturday. About 1,350 OG&E customers remained without power on Sunday afternoon.

"We were hoping it will be back on this evening," spokesperson Karen Kurtz said. "The problem we're having right now is there are still hot spots, and our crews can't get in for restoration." 

The number of affected Indian Electric members wasn't immediately available.

Fires have burned more than 58,000 acres in Creek County, and Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency. The towns of Mannford, Drumright, Oak Grove and Jennings were even evacuated Saturday due to the severity of the historic blazes.

Kurtz said crews have been working for hours putting up new poles and doing assessments.

8/4/2012 Related Story: Creek County Fire Rages On; Towns Evacuated 

Restaurants in neighboring cities of Sand Springs and Cleveland reported they were flooded with breakfast and lunch crowds on Sunday.

Those who had homes still standing were without power, so they were taking refuge in the triple-digit temperatures.

"Usually our lunch crowd dies down about 1, but we've been busy all day long," Hickory House employee Lana Duis said. "Lots of people don't have electricity, so they're coming in and visiting and trying to stay cool."

Kurtz said OG&E is working as quickly as it can and any place that is safe for crews to work, they will be working tirelessly into the night as long as it takes. There are also reports of off-duty linemen from other companies who are donating their time to assist the effort.

"We want to get their power on as soon as possible," Kurtz said. "We know they have experienced severe situations already. We want people to be able to go home and not add too much insult to injury."

See full coverage of Oklahoma Wildfires