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Residents evacuated in Luther; Oklahoma County sheriff suspects arson

Officials say 25 homes and a day care center were destroyed in Luther, while 17 families have lost homes in Cleveland County.
BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN lmanwarren@opubco.com Modified: August 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm •  Published: August 4, 2012

“I have no idea what happened to our house,” Montgomery said. “I guess you can kinda imagine.”

Because of the severity of the fires, officials asked people to not return to their homes.

The Red Cross set up overnight shelters at Harmony Christian Church, 7100 S Choctaw, and Slaughterville Baptist Church, 10101 60th St. in Lexington.

“A lot of people are waiting at gas stations or on the side of the roads, thinking they are able to go home, but that's just not going to happen tonight,” Costner said Friday night.

Gov. Mary Fallin said state resources such as helicopters and bulldozers were used Friday to help local fire departments fight five major fires that burned across the state and the state is ready to offer assistance again Saturday, which could pose even a greater fire danger.

“We have every available resource that we can find being used right now,” Fallin said Friday night. “The challenge is we can use even more.”

The state monitored 11 fires Friday afternoon as Fallin announced a statewide burn ban.

Blaine County

Friday began with more than 150 firefighters from 42 agencies combating an overnight wildfire near Geary in Blaine County that forced people in several homes to evacuate.

The 2,000-acre fire was contained but picked up again from the high winds in the afternoon. American Red Cross regional director of communications Ken Garcia said two homes were destroyed in the fire.

Fallin said she has requested help from surrounding states, but most are facing high fire dangers, as well. With temperatures to remain in the triple digits throughout most of the weekend, Fallin said the state is anticipating another day of wildfires.

Fallin urged residents to follow the instructions of firefighters and law enforcement officials.

“When someone tells you there is fire danger in your local community, listen, heed the warnings,” she said.

Contributing: Staff Writers Michael McNutt and Andrew Knittle


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