Bethel Acres Wildfire Takes Similar Path As May 2013 Tornado

Tuesday, March 11th 2014, 10:24 pm
By: News 9

Several close calls on Tuesday as several wildfires erupt across central Oklahoma.

One area hit hard Tuesday was a Bethel Acres mobile home park that took a direct hit by a tornado May 19, 2013. Now, people there are dealing with new trouble.

The wildfire got dangerously close to several homes, many of them newly rebuilt.

"I saw a huge grass fire," said Bethel Acres resident, Amy Farris. "Within 10 minutes, it was heading up our driveway."

"Folks out here have lost a lot, and you know, it's just one more thing to worry about," neighbor Bryan Sanders said.

Fighting the wildfire turned into more of a community effort for Sanders and his neighbors. Nearly a year ago, a tornado outbreak hit Bethel Acres, Carney and Little Axe.

11/19/2013 Related Story: Bethel Acres Resident Relives Tornado Six Months Later

"It's really hard to compute really," said Sanders. "Everybody is just getting stuff rebuilt, and getting back on their feet, and kind of getting back to real life. Then something like this happens."

Jim Gardner and Bob Mills SkyNews 9 HD were in the air Tuesday, as residents did everything they could to keep the fire from spreading.

Bethel Acres Fire Chief Rusty Tucker said at least 12 homes were in danger. Fortunately, no structures were burned.

"These homeowners are not firefighters, but they get out there and do what they can, you know to help us," Chief Tucker added.

3/11/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Firefighters Battle Multiple Grass Fires

"We were just putting our tornado shelter in today," said Amy's husband, Allan Farris. "The guys that were putting the tornado shelter in kept it from the house earlier."

The Farris' just finished restoring their family's home about two weeks ago.

"It's one thing after another," Allan Farris said.

Fire departments from Shawnee, Tecumseh, McCloud, Little Axe and Pink came in to assist Bethel Acres firefighters.

Neighbors kept a close watch on hot spots throughout the night.

"Everybody is still checking on their neighbors, checking on their friends, family," Sanders said.

Tuesday night's fire danger isn't over yet. Some of the fires News 9 covered Tuesday did rekindle, so firefighters are on alert.