Dozens of Homes Destroyed in Oklahoma Wildfire

April 10th, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by GD  

On Thursday dozens of homes were grazed to the ground as the wind-whipped wildfire spread in central Oklahoma, according to Midwest City Fire Department spokesman Jerry Lojka. Nearly 36 people were reported injured. According to reports from the state health department, two of the injuries were serious: a firefighter was burned in the blaze at Lincoln County and a motorist lost control on the smoke engulfed area in Stephens County and hurt himself.

Even as late as 10 pm, residents of the Eastwood and Oakwood East in Midwest City were not allowed to go back to the their homes or neighborhoods as the fire department fears new wildfires may begin as the wind shifts from northeast to northwest. It may also aggravate the currently blazing wildfires. Wildfires engulfed homes and other buildings in Choctaw at night and firefighters were waiting till morning to assess the full range of the damage.

However, around 9 pm, th town of Velma lifted the evacuation order and residents could go back home. In Murray, Marshall, Stephens county and Carter there were reports of multiple road blocks. Chandler Emergency Management Director Larry Hicks said that in Lincoln County a firefighter sustained major burns and was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital and added, “We had one truck that got overrun. It’s pretty severe.”

Hicks also said, “We’re having trouble with the wind shift. We’ve got fires breaking out where they’ve already been put out. There are fires everywhere.”

Meanwhile Kirk Mittlestet, emergency management director for Stillwater, said, “We’ve lost some structures but I don’t have an accurate count of how many. We’ve closed down Interstate 35 and Oklahoma 51 and voluntarily evacuated people in the most affected areas.”

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