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Firefighter’s death adds urgency in northeast Oklahoma

BY MANNY GAMALLO - Tulsa World Published: March 10, 2009
MANNFORD — The state fire marshal’s office is working to find whoever set a wildfire that cost a firefighter his life.

Linda Heims, the fire marshal’s supervisor for northeast Oklahoma, said the agency is pursuing this case more intently than others due to the death.

Silver City firefighter John Adams, 45, collapsed and died of a heart attack Feb. 20 while battling the remnants of a daylong grass fire between Silver City and Mannford.

The fire, determined to be the work of an arsonist, consumed more than 60 acres and destroyed an abandoned trailer home and an outbuilding.

Adams, survived by a wife and two children, had been a Silver City firefighter for five years.

Heims said fire marshal’s investigator Terry Smith is working the case. She would not provide details except to say several leads have been checked out and that another lead is being pursued.

The Creek County sheriff’s office also is investigating the case because of Adams’ death. Sgt. Michael Carter said the fire appears to have been set in three locations.

He said a late-model pickup, possibly white, was reported in the area about 10:30 a.m., about when the fires started.

Heims said officials don’t know what was used to start the fires. She said no reward is being offered for information.

"We’re trying our best” to solve the case, she said.

Creek County Assistant District Attorney Mike Loeffler said because a death was involved, the arsonist could face a first-degree manslaughter charge. "We intend to prosecute the case vigorously,” he said. has disabled the comments for this article.

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