Guthrie Oklahoma Wildfire Kills Man as 'Controlled Burn' Escapes

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 09:48 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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The Guthrie Fire Department in Oklahoma has confirmed that a 56-year-old man was killed when a wildfire overtook his home. About 1,000 others have evacuated after flames from what was supposed to be a "controlled burn" escaped.

Department Chief Eric Harlow told The Associated Press that by Monday, the blaze was about 75 percent contained, and on Tuesday the coalition battling the fire took control of 90 percent of the area affected. He estimates roughly 3,500 acres have been scorched so far.

Nonetheless, The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for western and central Oklahoma until 10 p.m. Tuesday in anticipation of temperatures reaching over 100 degrees and winds blowing at 45 mph. KOCO Oklahoma City reports that many homes are still in danger.

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"It's not that big . . . but the potential is there," said Capt. Stan May of the Oklahoma Incident Management Team, Fox News reports.

At least 36 patients were treated for smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion, and fatigue, reported Lara O'Leary with Emergency Medical Services Authority. None were taken to the hospital.

Many government departments including the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) have worked together to fight the fire, with all available equipment being deployed — including helicopters that scoop up water from local lakes to douse the flames from above. The American Red Cross has also set up a shelter for those in need.

Many residents waited until they could see the fire approaching their house before evacuating, including Tony Ergang, 47. Six houses were destroyed during the blaze, but his fared somewhat better. He found smoke damage and a few scorch-marks but no structural damage when he later returned.

"It's one of those things," he said. "It's like a tornado that tears through a house . . . "

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