Rural fire department donation saves home

Friday, December 2nd 2005, 10:45 am
By: News On 6

A donation to a Wagoner County rural fire department paid off for a family threatened by a grass fire. The Flat Rock Fire Department they helped out - put out a fire right at their door.

It happened Sunday night south of Chouteau in Wagoner County. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the hilly pastures around Mazie and Chouteau are charred black. One home is left standing, while everything around it burned.

Flat Rock Fire Chief Gary Bradshaw: "She did well, Miss Bonnie did well." Miss Bonnie is the main truck for the Flat Rock Fire Department. The truck bears the scars of the grass fire, which was the biggest fire this department has ever seen. "There were points that we had probably an eighth of a mile of fire coming at us, when we just had to back away."

While there were many homes that burned, most were saved and one home has special significance for the department. It's the home of the late Miss Bonnie Burns - the lady who gave $10,000 to kick off fundraising for the truck that bears her name.

Flat Rock Fire Department board member Jimmy Roberts: “yes, she got it started." Jimmy Roberts saw the fire racing toward the home and is surprised they were able to save it. “If we hadn't had Miss Bonnie, we couldn't have been here and possibly might not have saved this place.”

The fire raced over a pasture and firefighters said it was moving about 30 miles an hour. They made a stand at Miss Bonnie’s house and the fire burned right up to it, but the house was saved.

Like all rural fire departments, most all the equipment comes used and money is tight. The Flat Rock Fire Department believes Miss Bonnie, the donor and Miss Bonnie, the truck, helped them saved countless homes.

The Flat Rock Fire Department did lose some equipment in the fire - mainly hoses they had to leave behind as the fire approached.