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Oklahoma City Metro area: Clinging to hope after wildfire

FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: April 11, 2009 at 7:46 am •  Published: April 11, 2009

Her feet soaked from walking through the drenched remains of her home, Sammetra Christmon was just hoping to find a dry pair of socks somewhere. It took only a few minutes to realize everything was either damaged or soaked.

"I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. "We don’t even have a toothbrush.”

Amid the devastation, Christmon’s 9-year-old daughter worried about an Easter dress her mother bought her last week. Miraculously, in a closet full of charred and smoke-damaged clothes, the Easter dress was unscathed.

There were a few signs of hope Friday as residents who fled their homes returned. When many were forced to evacuate Thursday evening, it was nearly 80 degrees. Friday morning, some were still wearing short-sleeve shirts and were looking for warmer clothing as the temperature was about 45 degrees. For most, their coats had burned up along with all their other possessions. Residents could be seen standing amid the soaked ashes of their homes.

Sprinkler systems continued to spray scorched lawns, and water from a hard night of fighting fires ran through the streets of the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, at the Midwest City animal welfare shelter, about 20 displaced residents brought their pets in, said Jay Eskey, a code officer helping animal welfare officials. About 10 lost animals were dropped off at the shelter.

Sung Wood left her home near Lake Stanly Draper around 6 p.m. Thursday night. After spending the night sleeping in a Walmart parking lot with her pet poodle, Wood returned to her home to assess the damage. Her home was safe, but around 1 p.m. Friday, fires flared up and licked at Wood’s travel trailer next to her home.

"I don’t know what I’m doing here,” said Wood, who built her home about a year ago.

"It just hurts to watch this.”

At Lake Stanley Draper, Oklahoma City fire crews battled brush and structure fires across more than two square miles, Deputy Fire Chief Cecil Clay said. At least three structures burned between SE 138 and SE 134 and officials are still assessing the extent of the damage. Hot spots in wooded areas gave firefighters a difficult time and flames that flared up Friday afternoon forced some to evacuate.

Contributing: Staff Writers Julie Bisbee, Ann Kelley, Jay F. Marks and Vallery Brown

Carter County: 29 homes and

3 businesses destroyed

Grady County: 15 homes and

3 businesses destroyed

McClain County: 10 to 15 homes destroyed

Oklahoma County: 100 structures destroyed (Midwest City, 12 homes; Choctaw, 58 homes)

Cleveland County: 11 homes and 6 mobile homes destroyed

Murray County: Five homes destroyed

Stephens County: 16 homes destroyed

SOURCE: State Department

of Emergency Management


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