Dozens Of Homes Destroyed In Harrah Wildfire


Friday, March 11th 2011, 2:32 pm
By: News 9


News9.com

HARRAH, Oklahoma -- A raging wildfire that burned at least 30 homes in Harrah may have been intentionally set.

The Harrah fire and police departments held a news conference Friday night. Authorities said they are planning to interview a witness who observed someone deliberately start the wildfire that burned 12 square miles. There were two suspects seen in a late 80's to early 90's light colored pickup truck intentionally setting a fire in Harrah near Luther Road and Rock Creek. Please call 911 if you have information about this incident.

Harrah Nursing Home Evacuated

The fire started near N.E. 10th Street and Luther Road, but quickly spread.  Authorities evacuated several neighborhoods near N.E. 23rd Street and Luther Road. Residents of the Harrah Nursing Center also had to be moved. More than 160 seniors were safely relocated to McLoud. Nursing home administrator Mike Lawrence said he was told he can begin moving his patients back into their regular nursing home Saturday.

Earlier in the afternoon, students at Harrah High School and Harrah Junior High School were also evacuated.  The wildfire burned very close to both schools, but they were not damaged.

Harrah Wildfire

The Salvation Army has set up to assist people displaced by fires in Harrah at 101 S. Dobbs in the parking lot of Harrah Church.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for people forced out of their homes at Harmony Christian Church at 7100 S. Choctaw Road in Choctaw.

Harrah police have set up a hotline for people who have questions about their homes and road closures. The number is (405) 454-1203.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is warning people to stay away from the burning areas because the situation is so dangerous. Because of the strong winds, firefighters had trouble getting the upper hand on the wildfire. Nearly a handful of firefighters received minor injuries due to smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.

Firefighters from Harrah, Luther, Choctaw, Newalla and Hickory Hills helped battle the flames. A helicopter from the Oklahoma Department of Forestry was called in to drop water on the fire. Firefighters will work through the night to control flare up and put out hot spots.

This is one of at least 23 wildfires that burned across Oklahoma Friday.