Fire Destroys Strip Mall In Northwest OKC


Thursday, September 1st 2011, 8:24 am
By: News 9


LaShauna Sewell, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A large fire burned so intensely at an Oklahoma City strip mall, it spread and charred a nearby traffic light and street sign.

The fire began around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, September 1, at N.W. 36th Street and Western. Firefighters tried to attack the flames from inside the building, but the fire became so large and intense they were forced to evacuate the building and battle the flames from outside.

"We're just very fortunate that we got the crews out on time before we had the total roof collapse," said Oklahoma City Battalion Chief Tommy Iago. "There's only about two or three minutes by the time we got them out before the roof fell."

The flames pouring from the roof of the building set a nearby traffic light and street sign on fire. One firefighter battling the flames was sent to the hospital with arm pains. He's expected to be okay. Battalion Chief Iago says the same firefighters who fought the strip mall fire have also been battling the wildfires in northeast Oklahoma City.

"All these crews have been out at the grassfire at one time or another during the day. We try and rotate our crews and keep them as fresh as we can, but some of them are a little taxed from being out at the grassfires all day. But it did not hamper our firefighting efforts today on this building fire."

Investigators don't know yet what started the fire.