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Oklahoma City metro-area officials hustle to trace scope, source of blazes

BY ROBERT MEDLEY Modified: April 14, 2009 at 6:31 am •  Published: April 14, 2009
While metro-area investigators work together to find the cause of Thursday’s fires that destroyed dozens of homes and more than 2,000 acres of grass and trees, federal and state officials will start assessing damage across the state.

Two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams will begin assessing fire damage across the state today, said Albert Ashwood, state emergency management director.

One FEMA team will look at damage in Oklahoma and Lincoln counties and another will be in southern Oklahoma in mostly Carter and Stephens counties. The teams are expected to wrap up their work totaling structures burned by Wednesday, Ashwood said.

Because of the large area affected, Oklahoma City arson investigators are working with Midwest City to identify causes of fires that stretched across both jurisdictions, Oklahoma City Battalion Chief Homer Jones said Monday.

Midwest City officials said the Midwest City-Choctaw fire was set about 3 p.m. Thursday at SE 29 and Post Road and spread northeast. It destroyed 12 Midwest City homes, and embers carried by winds gusting to 50 mph devoured 58 Choctaw homes.

"The fire was intentionally set,” Midwest City Fire Marshal Jerry Lojka said. "We have nothing more to release. We’re following up on leads and completing interviews at this time.”

The cause of a 5-square-mile fire in Oklahoma City that destroyed 17 structures near Lake Stanley Draper has not been determined.

While those affected by Thursday’s fires are awaiting answers, Lojka said the inquiry might take time.

"We have to be patient. has disabled the comments for this article.

In the effort to determine the cause of Thursday’s fires ...

Midwest City investigators can be reached at 739-1300.

Oklahoma City arson investigators can be reached at 232-7766.

Replacing licenses lost in the fire

People who lost their driver’s license in

last week’s wildfires can apply for a replacement license as long as the original license has not expired, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Any tag agent can verify the photograph on file and other security features without documents, said Karen Gentry, director of driver license examining. All CDL holders, however, will be required to see a driver license examiner before acquiring a replacement. Call 425-7745 or your local driver examiner for more information.

In Midwest City
Here’s a look at the status of damaged infrastructure in Midwest City:

• All tornado sirens are working again in

Midwest City.

• Emergency repairs were made Monday to police patrol car computers, firefighter radio frequencies and tornado siren controls that were knocked out by fire.

• Fire destroyed a building near the water treatment plant that housed emergency operations equipment.

• A backup police radio system was still being repaired Monday as well as some Oklahoma County sheriff’s radio frequencies that have

been down, Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said.


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