Firefighters Save Okmulgee County Man's Home

Friday, March 11th 2011, 10:29 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

OKMULGEE COUNTY -- Oklahomans scrambled Friday to save their homes, cars, barns, and land from wind-whipped wild fires.  More than 30 grass fires have burned parts of the state.

3/11/2011 Related Story: Governor Fallin Declares State Of Emergency In Wake Of Wildfires

One fire broke out in near Liberty Mounds, in Okmulgee County, just before 1 p.m.

Homeowner Paul Cook, who has lived in his house for 37 years, almost lost it Friday.

"The way the wind was blowing it just came quick, he said. "We didn't have time to much do anything."

Cook jumped on his tractor and made break lines around the house as firefighters from Twin Hills, Mounds, Creek Nation, Liberty, Glenpool and Beggs attacked the flames.

Their efforts saved his home, even though he lost his barn.

"I was ready to throw up my hands and run, til I seen tears in my wife's eyes and then I thought I'm going to get on the roof of this thing and fight all night if I have to," he said.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, someone doing a controlled burn caused the fire. Once the wind got hold of it, it jumped several roads and marched towards homes.

But firefighters pushed back and saved every house. Only a handful of barns were lost.

They've done a wonderful job," Eric Pelletier, Bureau of Indian Affairs, said. "There's a lot of residents in here we've been able to steer the fire around and don't have to worry about the structures or home loss at this time."

The flames covered about 720 acres. Wind kept whipping up hot spots, making firefighters retrace their steps.

Back at the Cook's home, the fire made a comeback and threatened their home again. Just like before, firefighters stood their ground and made sure Cook got to spend his 38th year in his house.

"I'd lost my house if it hadn't been for Mounds fire department," Cook said. "And God bless that guy. He knew how to make that fire pass out and go around and it was really coming in that wind."