Terlton Residents Begin Cleanup After Wildfire


Tuesday, August 9th 2011, 4:32 pm
By: News On 6


Dan Bewley, News On 6

TERLTON, Oklahoma -- The cleanup is underway in Pawnee county. Residents can finally take a breath as the fires have been doused and just a few hot spots remain.

The Pawnee County Sheriff's Office says the fire burned about three square miles. It took barns, buildings, and homes.

"It's really just amazing it just, you know, look like a war zone or something," Wilson said. "I've got 5 acres."

Jimmy Wilson's land, east of Terlton, was smack in the middle of Monday's raging grassfire.

8/8/2011 Related Story: Evacuation Order Lifted For Terlton Residents

"See the blistering of the paint, how hot it got," he said.

Wilson saved his home but his trees and dog kennels were destroyed. He managed to get his dogs out of the kennel and to safety just as the fire barreled its way through his property.

"I described to my family it was like a tornado with fire in it. It was swirling like this and fire was shooting about 30 foot above the trees," he said.

Nearly everywhere you look around Terlton, you see a massive amount of devastation.

One home appears to have exploded. A tractor is barely recognizable, the ground is still smoldering where its rubber tires melted away, an appointment book and magazines just a few signs of what used to be home sweet home.

Power crews spent much of the day working to restore electricity and help residents get back to normal.

The American Red Cross says close 45 people stayed in its shelter Monday night. Delbert Bell was one of those who stayed in a shelter.

"We're a lot more fortunate than some people," Delbert Bell said.

Siding on the back side of his mobile home shows signs of the fight. He also lost a boat, an SUV, and a vacant home on his property.

"When they evacuated us the smoke was so thick you couldn't see; that ridge there was probably a 60 foot wall of fire came over it," he said.

Both Bell and Jimmy Wilson feel lucky to have dodged the brunt of the fire. They say they're just glad no one was seriously hurt.

"I've got my house and everybody's still in good health and alive so that's all that matters," Wilson said.

The only report of an injury is to a man who refused to leave his property and was overcome by smoke. He was taken to a Tulsa hospital, there's no word on his condition.