uot;Firefighters can’t get a handle on it at this point. ... It’s a concern by the fact you’ve got all these fires that are laying in this thick brush that is rekindling. When the wind shifts directions, it will blow into those areas that have not yet burned.”
Mary Chilcoat said she was in her home watching the fires on television when a firefighter knocked on her door and told her she needed to evacuate. The firefighter brought her to the community center. She said she is worried about her home in the 600 block of S Anderson Road.
Chilcoat said she was only able to take her purse with her from her house, where she has lived since the 1970s.
Rochelle and Frank Respicio, both 35, couldn’t go home when they got off work because of the evacuation. They said their neighbors turned on sprinklers for them, but they worried about their dogs, Trixie and Pedro.
"We’re just praying everything’s going to be all right and we’re not going to be here all night,” Rochelle Respicio said.
Ryan Griswold, 21, and his sister went to the Midwest City command center at Westminster Road and SE 29 to pick up his cousin’s children.
Griswold’s said his family had been preparing to evacuate, but they were never forced to leave. His cousin, however, was asked to evacuate his home, so Griswold came to pick up his children for now.
"This is just like the (May 3, 1999) tornadoes, only it seems to be lasting a lot longer,” Griswold said.
At 10:45 p.m., the fire’s leading edges in Midwest City were near SE 15 and Indian Meridian Road and the 2000 block of S Hiwassee Road, Lojka said. He said the best-case scenario for when firefighters could have the blaze under control was midnight or 1 a.m., but it may be well into today before crews knock it down.
Firefighters could not get into the areas with the heaviest flames because the brush was too thick.
About 9:30 p.m., winds began to shift from the south and west to the north.
"With any luck, the wind shift will slow this down but we don’t know,” Lojka said. "There are houses that are still burning. This isn’t a safe place for people to be.”
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin visited with officials at the Midwest City command post to see what kind of assistance the federal government could provide. She will tour the area by helicopter today, she said.
"I’m not surprised at the outpouring of assistance throughout the state,” Fallin said. "Oklahoma does a super job when it comes to emergencies and people pulling together.”
Contributing: Staff Writers Jesse Olivarez, Robert Medley and Brian Sargent