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Fire flare-ups continue Wednesday; dozens of homes destroyed

A wildfire that started Tuesday continues to flare up in northeast Oklahoma City. A church burned down, and dozens of houses and mobile homes were reported destroyed.
BY BRYAN DEAN AND TIFFANY GIBSON Modified: August 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm •  Published: August 31, 2011

Barricades remained in place in much of the area ravaged by the fire, and authorities encouraged people to stay out of the area.

On Wednesday morning, firefighters worked to defend homes and property along Britton Road near Prosper Drive as crews from Edmond, Midwest City, Del City, Jones and Canadian County arrived as reinforcement. About 200 firefighters were on the scene Wednesday, Bryant said.

Oklahoma Air National Guard helicopters dropped water on hot spots unreachable by fire vehicles.

“It was definitely more intense yesterday,” Bryant said. “Today we're in more of a mop-up phase. We're still actively working the area, so it's going to be some time.”

Numerous people evacuated Tuesday were still waiting to get back to their homes Wednesday. Cedar trees continued to explode in flames, and downed power lines created hazards throughout the area.

About 1,300 Oklahoma City customers were without power Wednesday afternoon.

George Caldwell, 58, said he's been monitoring the fire since it burned several homes near his.

He said he was in Guthrie when he got a call about the wildfire. Worried about his dog, Buddy, Caldwell said he rushed home to take the dog to safety.

As firefighters worked to put out hot spots on NE 66 near Harrison, Caldwell sat outside his home Wednesday and watched them work.

“All these guys are working constantly with each other,” he said. “They saved me.”

Kevan Finley, CEO of Cedar Ridge Hospital, said about 80 patients and 180 staff members had to leave about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. He said the patients were taken to different hospitals in the area and haven't been brought back to the facility.

Finley said he's working with the Oklahoma City Fire Department to determine when it will be safe to take them back to the hospital at 6501 NE 50.

“They won't let us back in here if they think we'll have to evacuate,” he said.

No injuries were reported Wednesday, but three firefighters were treated Tuesday. A firefighter from Byers and another from Oklahoma City were treated for heat exhaustion, and a Midwest City firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.

CONTRIBUTING: Staff writer Robert Medley.

Blog: Beware of running near the OKC fires

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