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Oklahoma governor meets with fire victims on damage assessment tour in Cleveland County

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin met with fire victims on Thursday, as the agent investigating the fires in Cleveland County determined the three fires that started on Cemetery Road were deliberately set. Two new fires are burning north in Moore and Norman.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON jcannon@opubco.com Modified: August 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm •  Published: August 9, 2012

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.

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.

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