2:10 p.m. Norman Fire Chief James Fullingim said investigators have developed some leads in the suspicious Cleveland County fires, but no charges have been filed.
“We have some people we are interviewing,” he said.
Firefighters now are on the scene at two separate grass fires on Indian Hills Road. One is on the north side of Indian Hills in Moore, and the other is on the south side of Indian Hills in Norman.
1:45 p.m. NOBLE — Gov. Mary Fallin toured fire-ravaged Cleveland County on Thursday, meeting with families who lost everything — their homes, possessions, transportation and, in some cases, their pets — assuring them emergency assistance was forthcoming.
“This is a very challenging time, but one thing I can tell you, a lot of people are coming to help you. So many people have lost so much, but we will work together to get you what you need,” Fallin said. “No one comes together better in a disaster than Oklahomans.”
Fallin walked with Harold and Vicky Grigg across a charred landscape on 132nd Avenue SE, where at least 10 homes burned, including the Griggs'.
“We didn't even have time to run in and get our belongings, but we saved our lives, and for that we are thankful. And, we still have the memories. We will always have our memories,” Vicky Grigg said.
The Griggs and most of their neighbors had lived on the rural acreage in Noble for 30 years, she said.
“We raised our kids here. They raised their kids here. We're family. This is a community, and we will rebuild,” Vicky Grigg said.
The agent investigating the fires in Cleveland County has determined the three fires that started on Cemetery Road were deliberately set, Assistant State Fire Marshal JoAnne Sellars said Thursday. A fourth fire in rural Cleveland County also was an act of arson, she said.
Representatives with the state Emergency Management Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency managers joined Fallin in a damage assessment tour.
FEMA representative Fredrick Williams said his team was there “to validate and verify” what happened.
“We've come out to see that it is what is, that the damage is as great as has been reported,” Williams said.
State Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said representatives were looking particularly for the uninsured, trying to calculate the extent of damage and loss for reports that Fallin can use in asking for federal aid.
Damage assessment teams on a similar mission also were touring Creek, Oklahoma and Payne counties Thursday.
A preliminary estimate indicates 380 homes were destroyed and up to 110,000 acres burned statewide since wildfires erupted on Friday, Fallin said.
“That's a very preliminary estimate,” the governor said.
Fallin said the state medical examiner still is working to identify the remains of one person found in the charred remains of a home near 144th Ave. SE and Cedar Lane.
Norman police Sgt. Jennifer Newell said the body was discovered after police received a report of a missing person from a man who said he had been unable to contact his sister.
Residents in all the affected counties are dealing with the loss of power and no water, the governor said.
“I can't remember a time since taking office when total communities have had to deal with this magnitude of issues,” Fallin said.
The governor pledged to get families “back on their feet. It's that Oklahoma spirit that will pull them through.”
Vicky Grigg said volunteers have arrived daily to help families meet their needs, whether it be clearing land or finding food, water and a place to stay.
“We'll get through this. We have some insurance — I don't know how much — but many of these families don't. That's where the help needs to go,” said Harold Grigg.
Fallin met later in the morning with other wildfire victims at Twelve Corners Baptist Church at 15601 E Etowah Road, a one-stop assistance center for those in need.
Fallin urged people to report their losses and “save your receipts” for proof of loss once relief funds are available.
“You just being here today makes a big difference to these people,” said Slaughterville Mayor Bobby Cleveland, who lost his home to a fire last November.“I know what these people are going through, because I've been there. It's devastating to lose your personal possessions, your photographs, those things you can't ever replace. That's what you miss the most,” Cleveland said.