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Choctaw residents left homes quickly

By Nolan Clay and Bryan Dean Modified: April 9, 2009 at 9:42 pm •  Published: April 9, 2009
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Update at 9:42pm
Authorities in Choctaw said “less than 20” homes had been destroyed, although they did not have an exact count.


“We’ve lost major homes,” Fire Chief Loren Bumgarner said.

Choctaw Mayor Randy Ross said officials have asked hundreds of people to evacuate as fires neared Choctaw High School.

“We have asked several additions to completely evacuate,” Ross said. “The additions around the high school — virtually everything between NE 23 and Reno and between Henney and Indian Meridian — we’ve asked those people to either leave or at least be cognizant of what’s going on.”

Ross said firefighters have also been hampered by damage to infrastructure.

“I’ve lost a couple of water wells, which is problematic when you are fighting fires,” Ross said. “That will be a challenge for us in the morning.”


CHOCTAW -- In Choctaw, residents of evacuated homes waited outside a tire store tonight.

"There wasn't time to get nothing," said Willie Bennett, 69, a retired mechanic.

Bennett was worried about three dogs he left behind at his house near Choctaw High School.

"Man, how did this get started?" he said.

Another evacuated Choctaw homeowner, Benny Workman, 65, said police came door to door asking people to leave.

"They came banging on the doors telling us to get the heck out of there," he said.

Workman said he grabbed valuables, documents, his dog and some dog food.

"The smoke was so thick," he said.


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