Heat, Grass Fires Stretch Fire Departments Thin

Wednesday, August 10th 2011, 9:57 pm
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- It is no secret:  dry weather and hot temperatures have led to some major problems with grass fires.

And that is stretching fire departments and firefighters thin.

Oak Cliff Firefighters say they are having the busiest year ever.

"It's been a little crazy," said Taylor Atkinson, an Oak Cliff firefighter.

The Oak Ciff Fire department, like most across the state, has been fighting fire, after fire, after fire.

"About 48 hours straight," Dale Schribner, another Oak Cliff firefighter, said Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to a grass fire on Friday, helped Edmond with the major grass fire over the weekend, battled a huge house fire on Monday that rekindled on Tuesday, and Wednesday they were back at it.

"We had three calls today," said Atkinson.

All that has put not only sleep, but truck maintenance on the back burner.

"If our trucks don't run, we don't run," said Atkinson.

Even though storms knocked out power to their station, firefighters were able to catch up a bit Wednesday morning.

"We got a bunch of hose cleaned, and washed the trucks and made sure everything was still up and running," said Atkinson.

And Wednesday afternoon, firefighter Schribner said he'll be catching up too.

"I'm going home and going to bed," he said.

Firefighters say they do get frequent breaks, and neighbors and the Red Cross have been great about making sure they have enough water and Gatorade.

The Oak Cliff Fire Department has 43 volunteer firefighters, although some firefighters are paid to man the station during the day.