Firefighters Eye Hot Spots After Wildfire Destroys Homes In Cleveland, Oklahoma

Monday, April 11th 2011, 5:38 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

PAWNEE COUNTY -- Firefighters in Cleveland are still looking for hot spots after a wildfire over the weekend. A 1,500 acre fire destroyed 6 homes on Saturday and left area residents worried the fire might spark again.

The good news is no one was hurt by the fire; only one firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation. Now two days later, residents are surveying the damage and making sure it doesn't flare up again.

4/10/2011 Related Story: Cleveland, Oklahoma Resident Loses 'Everything' In Fire

Tommy Phipps is walking through what looks like a wasteland. In reality, it's his son's property and Phipps is doing what he can to clean it up.

"Trim all the trees that's left, hope it rains and the grass come back green," he said.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon; 1,500 acres quickly went up in flames. It was so big the National Guard had two Black Hawks working to get it under control.

Tommy Phipps was right there in the middle of all of it.

"It was crazy," he said. "Lot of police officers, lot of good firemen."

Phipps has spent the last two days salvaging what he can. He says it's not as bad as it looks and he still has big plans for this land.

"I was in the process of opening all this up back in here for kids to hunt and fish that don't ever get too," he said.

Six homes were destroyed in the fire. While some were either abandoned or empty, the aftermath shows a world stopped in its tracks: teacups melted by the intense heat and a car sits in ruins.

The state insurance commission says a fire like this is just another example of the importance of home insurance. They say at least once a year you should talk to your agent and make a list of all the things inside your home, especially all the new items you bought in the last year.

Laura Waters lives across the street from burned land. She grabbed her hose Monday morning after finding a smoldering pile of branches.

"I came out here and this was going on, like 20 minutes ago and I thought, 'Surely not,'" she said.

For now, that seems to be all that can be done is to watch for hotspots and wait for mother nature to clean it up.

"It'll grow back," Phipps said.

Read the state insurance commission's advice for homeowners to make sure they have the best coverage available.