Police blocked off SE 149 between Anderson and Westminster Roads because of continuing fires. Firefighters are still working to continue brush fires around Lake Stanley Draper.
- Vallery Brown
About 20 displaced residents have taken their pets to the Midwest City Animal Welfare shelter for temporary keeping, said Jay Eskey, a code officer helping Animal Welfare officials. About 10 lost animals have been brought to the shelter after the fires last night. To report a missing pet, call the Animal Welfare division at 427-6640 or stop by the shelter, 7221 NE 36.
Animal workers helped reunite animals to their owners Thursday night, said Catherine English, superintendent of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare. About a dozen loose animals were captured and returned to their owners.
- Staff Writer Carrie Coppernoll
The fires are being blamed for 52 injuries throughout the state, said Patrice Greenawalt, trauma director for the Department of Health. Hospitals taking care of patients reported the injuries between 6 p.m. Thursday and 1:15 p.m. today. Greenawalt said the injuries ranged from burns to injuries sustained while evacuating.
In the Oklahoma City area, 21 people had been injured and five people were injured in the surrounding metro area, she said.
Across the state, 10 people were injured in fires in northwestern Oklahoma and 13 people were injured in southwestern Oklahoma. No injuries related to Thursday evenings tornadoes in eastern Oklahoma have been reported, Greenawalt said. The numbers would be updated throughout the day, she said.
- Julie Bisbee
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for many Oklahoma counties: Adair, Cherokee, Choctaw, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Haskell, Latimer, Le Flore, Mayes, Mcintosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tuls, Wagoner and Washington.
Winds are expect to continue at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph today. But the wind will die down tonight, decreasing fire danger.
A storm is expected to move through the state late Saturday. There’s a slight chance for severe weather.
- Carrie Coppernoll
Oklahoma City Fire Lt. Steven Parks said firefighters in the area are operating roving commands, which means they’re trying to keep the fire contained. Eight brush pumpers and three engines are working on hot spots in the area.
“They have good control on the outside edges of the fire,” he said. “But they’re mopping up and making sure it doesn’t spread.”
Firefighters still aren’t sure exactly how many homes have been destroyed by the grass fires.
- Vallery Brown
Lt. Col. Max Moss said the Oklahoma National Guard received a request from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management this morning to assist in firefighting efforts in Stephens County near Velma.
Because reduced winds allowed for the assistance, Moss said the Guard is sending two Blackhawk helicopters with 660-gallon water buckets to help control wildfires there.
The National Guard said they couldn’t assist the ground effort Thursday because of winds that gusted to more than 60 mph in some areas .
- Johnny Johnson
A fire near Lake Stanley Draper flared up again about 1 p.m., threatening the home of Sung Wood. Wood just built her home south of SE 134 a year ago. Fire trucks ran out of water and had to leave for more, but they were able to return quickly enough to extinguish the flames.
“I just wonder how long it will keep burning,” she said, clutching her stomach.
Wood was evacuated yesterday and slept in a Walmart parking lot.
- Vallery Brown
Red Cross volunteer Greg Eriksen worked a mobile feeding unit In the Oakwood Addition in Midwest City.
“We’re trying to find the families who are out and about who are affected by this disaster,” he said “We’re trying to bring them hot meals and trying to provide some comfort for them and meet their needs.”
Inside the canteen is hot chili, chips and peaches donated by the Southern Baptists, he said. The Red Cross has been given out food and drinks to police officers and emergency responders. As he got started shortly after noon going through the neighborhoods.
“It’s hit or miss with destruction of houses,” he said. “It jumped around.”
- Robert Medley
Even as firefighters continue to douse hot spots and watch for flareups, investigators are digging today into the cause of the wildfire that destroyed 17 homes and damaged many more in the Midwest City limits.
“We would like to know what caused the fire,” Midwest City Fire Marshal and spokesman Jerry Lojka said.
The first fire was reported about 3 p.m. Thursday at SW 29 and Post Road, quickly growing into an inferno that devastated the Turtlewood, Windsong and Oakwood additions, among others. More houses, barns and outbuildings burned in Choctaw and other places in eastern Oklahoma County, with today’s tally standing at about 100 structures for the entire county.
It won’t be easy, Lojka said, but he does think it is possible to determine the cause of the Midwest City fire.
Lojka said during a noon update that two or three subdivision residents had smoke inhalation injuries, and many firefighters got soot in their eyes but none had serious injuries.
“We all want to get back to normalcy, but unfortunately it’s going to be a long time for some of these folks who lost their homes,” Lojka said.
He said about 75 people spent the night in the shelter, but all residents were released to go back to their homes at 7:30 this morning. He said the community center is not scheduled to be open as a shelter with sleeping cots tonight.
- Robert Medley