Fires blaze through area

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Sep 13, 2012 - 9:27:27 AM

GOING UPMarlow Interim Fire Chief Ryan Hall, finally had a chance to catch his breath Monday morning. The interim chief, along with the Marlow fire department, spent the bulk of their weekend battling two blazes in different parts of the city.
The first was between the city pool and McKinley Road, and the second was on Blackburn Road close to Railroad Street.
The McKinley Road fire initially started on Thursday at about 4 p.m. and firemen were called back out at 6 p.m. when it rekindled. On Friday, the fire once again rekindled around 12:30 p.m. and firefighters battled it through the late evening as a cool front swept through the area at about 5:30 p.m. bring winds exceeding 40 mph. Firefighters have been called out numerous times to quell flames as they rekindle from the stubborn embers.
The Blackburn Road fire began just as the front passed through the area and Hall initially suspected high winds might have made power lines arc as they swung in the breeze sending sparks onto dry grass.
“There’s no way of knowing exactly how many times we went out,” Hall said. As The Review goes to press, firemen are still being recalled to the fires for containment.
Hall was in charge of the McKinley fire, while Chris Railey took the lead on the Blackburn fire.
Fortunately, no homes were destroyed, just an outbuilding at the Johnson residence on Blackburn Road. The Johnson’s have been in the home approximately four years. The McKinley fire claimed approximately 75 acres, while the Blackburn fire burned approximately 125 to 130 acres.
No one was injured and precautionary evacuations were made Friday on McKinley Road from 9th St. to Caddo Road, and on Blackburn Road from the railroad tracks to US Highway 81. Residents were allowed back in their homes early Saturday morning.
“The guys did an unbelievable job,” Hall said “It was a good day since we only lost one structure.”
There was plenty of credit, praise, and thanks to be spread around according to Hall. Numerous fire departments assisted: Duncan, Central High, Bray, Doyle, Velma, Comanche, Oak Ridge and Empire all sent units as well as Rush Springs, Corum and Meridian.
Hall said the cause of the fire on McKinley was someone welding a tree stand.
“The one on McKinley was very hard to get to,” Hall said. “It was in an extremely wooded area, and it was over some very rough ground.”
The chief was pleased with the way the community responded. ENGULFED
“The way the community came together was great,” Hall said. “We got food and water from the public. People just showed up and started handing out food and water. We appreciate all of that. We wouldn’t have been able to do what we did if it had not been for the response we had from people.”
Hall pointed out Darrell Sparks who spent most of the weekend operating a bulldozer to help out. Ricky Sparks and Danny Florence provided tractors for use.
The chief also thanked the sheriff’s department and the Marlow Police Department for their assistance.
“Kenny Baker was a huge help,” Hall said. “He drove firefighters from place to place.
“The McCalvins were there the whole time with us, with food and water.”
The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office provided an Incident Command(IC) unit that was set up at the Blackburn fire. Marlow firefighter, Tommy Wordley passed incoming information to Railey and others from the IC.
“I was at the McKinley fire, but everything seemed to go fine with it, I didn’t hear of any problems,” Hall said.
Some non-Marlow departments had to cut off locks from fire hydrants to gain access.
“All hydrants in our area are locked,” Hall said. “Every water department and fire department vehicle has a key to unlock them. We usually unlock all the hydrants so when an area fire department comes they can have access. We can have them unlocked all the time but because of things like terrorist threats, they are locked down all the time.”
Hall noted the dedication of the volunteer firefighters, by which most of the departments are staffed.
“They got off work Friday and put in about 64 hours over the weekend, then had to get up and go back to work on Monday morning,” Hall said.