Creek County Residents Flee Wildfire's Path

Saturday, August 4th 2012, 2:32 pm
By: Tess Maune

Up to 40 agencies are currently fighting a Creek County wildfire threatening the town of Mannford. It's the latest evacuation in a the line of fire that has had Creek County residents waiting and watching.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed and many more are in the line of fire.

Cousins, Earlene and Seba Whitehead live near the intersection of Highways 33 and 48.

It's taking an emotional toll on Seba Whitehead, whose heart and soul lies within the confines of his country home. He was asked to leave on Friday - so far, he says his property has been spared.

"I'm 82 years old and I've never seen nothing like it before," said evacuee Seba Whitehead, who has a lung condition and uses a breathing machine.

8/4/2012 Related Story: Creek County Fire Command Post Moved As Wildfire Advances

"I've lived in this community all my life," he said. "I've never witnessed it where there were that many houses burned and property damage over such a vast area." 

It's too soon to know how many homes have been eaten by the fire, but Seba's cousin, Earlene, says that one is be one too many.

"It's horrible, I think we've counted just 12 or 15 just here in our community here," Earlene Whitehead said of the number of homes burned. 

Earlene Whitehead was told to leave her home Saturday morning.

"They've been working it since yesterday, so right now just kind of hoping and praying that the house is still gonna be there," said Creek County resident Debra Cassaday.

Though the is fire too close for Debra's comfort, she's out trying to round up displaced and stray animals.

"I'm an animal person, and I feel like I have to do something instead of just standing here, so I'm gonna try to capture this dog and take it home with me," she said.

Hopeful that she will have a home to go to, Debra is just counting her blessings that she's OK.

"Right now, I'm a very lucky person. We have our lives and that's the most important thing," she said. 

The Creek County Commissioner say this fire started was manmade. He says it started on tribal land, which means it's the Creek Nation is investigating.

The Red Cross shelter has been moved from Mannford to First United Methodist Church in Sand Springs, 319 N. Main St. 

"The Red Cross will begin coordinating with partner agencies that will help residents with their longer term needs," according to Red Cross spokesperson Donita Quesnel.

"In the meantime, those needing assistance are encouraged to go to the Red Cross shelter. Later today teams will be in place at the shelters to collect information from the residents that will be needed in the recovery process."

Keep checking back for updates, and News On 6 viewers can watch reporter Tess Maune for more in the 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts.