USA — A Keystone firefighter was injured Tuesday afternoon while battling a grassfire near Mannford, the Keystone Fire Department said.
The fire broke out at 41st Street and 240th West Avenue about 3 p.m.
Betty McCoy thought the big black smoke cloud was coming from her home.
“When it goes through there, it’s all woods. So it just can take out anything,” she said.
The fire wasn’t wrestling her house, but some nearby land she owns. The flames were also threatening a farm house on the land.
“We have big brush piles and I understand that’s what got this started really good. It got into the big brush piles and they just went up like a bomb,” she said.
Fire officials don’t know exactly how the fire started, but they know it started along a road when someone drove by and either threw something or a spark came from the vehicle. The wind immediately pushed it to the north.
Wind gusts were around 35 miles per hour.
“You can’t handle it with a hand, it’s hard to even handle it with a hose,” Captain George Blackburn, Keystone Fire Department, said.
Firefighters also had to battle through heavy brush and trees just to get to the flames. Black Hawk helicopters helped out by using a pond to dump hundreds of gallons of water on the fire.
“Trying to knock it down is extremely hard, and of course it’s hot. So it’s really wearing on them,” Captain Blackburn said.
A 23-year-old Keystone firefighter was burned when he touched a muffler on a fire truck. He was taken to the hospital in fair condition.
The firefighting efforts finally started paying off three hours after the flames started and no homes were lost.
“They kept it out of the pasture and that’s really important because if it had got in the pasture, we wouldn’t have been able to contain it, because it would have been poof, gone real quick,” McCoy said.
Just Monday night, the Keystone Volunteer Fire Department had EMS training to learn how to watch firefighters’ vitals in the field during a fire. They had no idea that training would be put to use less than 24 hours later.
The fire was the second grassfire to flare up in the area. Earlier Tuesday, a grassfire burned about 50 acres east of Mannford and north of state Highway 51 on the shores of Keystone Lake.