Tulsa elementary school evacuated due to wildfire

Thursday, September 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

An Osage County fire got so out of control Wednesday that a Tulsa elementary school had to be evacuated. It was like deja vu. Tulsa firefighters battling a blaze in an Osage County field. Almost exactly the same scenario as the day before except for about 20 degrees difference. "The cool weather helps the firefighters,” said Tulsa Fire Department spokesman Hubert Rouse. “It's not near as hot as it was Monday. We were dealing with almost a hundred degree temperature yesterday. Now it's a little bit cooler for the firefighters, but it doesn't make it any easier fighting these types of fires. These types of fires are very difficult to fight."

In unfamiliar terrain, firefighters worked quickly in thorny brush, trying to stay ahead of the wind. Wildlife as well as residents found themselves running for cover. “We took everything that needed to be taken,” said resident Linda Hall. “Like getting the truck out and we put the trailer right next to the house, so that the water would hit the trailer, and maybe we could save that. But most importantly, we got the animals rounded up, and we know where the kids are."

Their children were being evacuated, along with 300 other students at nearby Choteau Elementary School. The fire had come within a mile of the building. "There was ash falling on the building,” said Tulsa Public Schools spokesman Don Meyers. “Some of the kids were complaining about the smoke, and it was getting thick, so we made a decision to relocate our kids over to the park."

"My nephew, Christopher, brought his frog for show-n-tell, and he didn't want to leave it overnight, “ said Greg Hurd. “He was afraid it might get cooked." The fire, however, missed the school and kept its’ distance from all of the homes in the area. Thanks in part to an aerial assault that came late Wednesday afternoon,
and the diligent work of dozens of firefighters and volunteers.

If your property suffered any damage during the recent wildfires, the State of Oklahoma is offering help. The Insurance Commissioner's Consumer Assistance Division will help victims to wade through insurance claims. Those interested can call toll-free 1-800-522-0071.