Mannford-area grass fire forces home evacuations

Mannford-area grass fire forces home evacuations

07 August 2011

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USA –A grass fire between Sand Springs and Mannford destroyed homes and forced residents to evacuate Saturday afternoon. The affected area is south of  Oklahoma 51 and east of Mannford.

At least one home was destroyed in Saturday’s fire, which spanned from Coyote Trail south to 71st Street and from Dip Creek Road west to Tower Road, said Honorary Chief George Blackburn with the Keystone Volunteer Fire Department.

Gina Davis, a resident of the area for 18 years, saw the fire approach her home before authorities asked her to evacuate about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, when flames were visible across the street.

“It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever driven through,” she said. “Everything happened so fast.”

Davis and her three children parked the family truck at the intersection of Coyote Trail and Dip Creek Road, where the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office set up a traffic block, as she waited to hear from her husband, who remained at the home.

He and Davis’ brother attempted to fight the blaze with garden hoses and sprinklers.

The family’s motor home was packed with their important documents, pictures and whatever clothes they could grab in case her husband and brother also had to evacuate, she said.

The blaze came on the heels of a large grass fire in the same area Friday evening, which was sparked when a local farmer’s hay raking equipment struck a piece of flint, Blackburn said.

One firefighter was transported with minor injuries Saturday, he said.

Blackburn required all firefighters returning from the fire to have their vital signs checked with EMSA, which was stationed at the fire department.

He estimated the damage at 1,200 to 1,500 acres between the two fires.

Two homes and a couple of outbuildings were consumed Friday, Blackburn said.

Ten departments and 60 to 70 firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

The fire burned the tops of trees and shot flames 30 to 40 feet in the air, Blackburn said.

Keystone Neighborhood Watch set up three cooling stations near the fire.

The neighborhood watch has been following firefighters in cars and on four-wheelers to give them snacks and water, Blackburn said.

Red Cross crews also provided drinks and snacks to emergency responders working in the extreme heat and were to open a cooling station at First Baptist Church in Mannford, said Red Cross spokeswoman Donita Quesnel.

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