A Year After Devastating Wildfires, Luther Residents Still Look For Answers

Thursday, August 1st 2013, 7:37 pm
By: News 9

Wildfires devastated much of Luther on August 3, 2012. Homeowners were forced out their neighborhoods, leaving their belongings to be burned to the ground.  Now, almost a year later few have rebuilt.

"There was nothing left of it. I was devastated," said Nancy Peters.

Peters cannot  forget the wildfire that destroyed her home. She's surrounded by constant reminders.

"When I smell smoke, I get scared. It's that terrifying," Peters said.

Peters' new home is nestled in the same spot, between the charred trees and empty lots devastated by the Luther wildfires. She is the only one who rebuilt on her street, but says she is emotionally bound to the land.

"My husband is buried in the cemetery here. I couldn't leave him," she said.

Some of her neighbors didn't have the option to stay. They were either renting  homes or had no insurance to recover the cost of the damage.

"I would love to see someone rebuild," said Luther Fire Chief, Jason Miller. 

Miller says the empty lot where houses once stood remind the community of the suffering caused by an arsonist. Investigators say a man threw burning paper into a field that eventually burned thru 2,600 acres and 56 structures. Miller said more than a dozen were homes.

"It was very disheartening because we know the people who once lived here," Miller said.

Like Peters, this town is waiting for justice.

"It makes me angry because that person doesn't realize all that people have lost. I want him to pay for what he'd done," said Peters.

To date, no one has been arrested or charged with the arson. The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office previously released their investigation pointed to two suspects, but they had turned the investigation over to the Attorney General's office for a grand jury investigation.