MIDWEST CITY — Edmond firefighter Jeremy Sanders needed no prompting to come in to work on his day off Thursday. Sanders, an engine driver, was at home watching television with his children when saw the fires that were devastating the Midwest City area. As he watched the blazes on television, he learned members of his fire department were at the scene.
Moments later, he was driving to Midwest City. He was going to help, he said, and he didn’t care that it was his day off. "It was the right thing to do,” Sanders said. Sanders’ willingness to volunteer time to bolster the firefighting efforts was not an uncommon story among those firefighters, policemen and volunteers who gathered at the command center set up at SE 29 and Westminster Road on Thursday night and well into Friday morning. Midwest City police Lt. Bill Horn paced around the command center, drinking coffee to stay warm while a chilling north wind howled through the night. He said he spent the evening giving assignments to his officers, directing traffic and setting up perimeters to keep people from harm. Sore and tired, the 30-year law enforcement veteran kept working the scene well after his shift ended. The idea of leaving his colleagues, friends and neighbors to fend for themselves was an abhorrent thought, he said. "This is our community,” he said. "We’re all out here because these are our neighbors and friends.” The command center was the site of constant activity through the night. Even as midnight approached, helicopters flew above and landed on occasion in a neighboring field; fire trucks rushed passed honking their air-horns to alert bystanders that they were passing through.