View Full Version : 5-alarm fire, SE OKC

01-15-2005, 06:33 PM
I can safely say that I have never seen so much black smoke, or so hot of a fire, as I saw today at the 5-alarm fire at SE.30 & Lindsay. I actually left my house at 7:55 AM., and started heading over to my church at SE.33 & Lindsay to attend a basketball game. As I passed the fire station at SW.44 & Western, I heard the call come over my scanner.

As I looked towards the NE., I saw the dark, black smoke billowing towards the sky, and right then, I knew this would be a big fire. I actually arrived on the scene as the first three fire engines arrived. I parked my truck a block away, grabbed my two-way hand held radio that I carry with me when I am on call, grabbed my coat and my City Id, and headed over to provide any assistance I could.

The enormous flames, the black smoke, and the frigid wind, made for a rude awakening for many of the residents in this old, low income neighborhood. After finding out that the smoke was toxic because of the contents inside the building, the firefighters started evacuating for three blocks south of the fire.

With the enormity of the fire, the firefighters were trying to find fire hydrants as close to the fire as possible, however, not only were the hydrants spaced out, some of them had frozen up. As they spread hoses all throughout the street, I used the safety cones I keep in the back of my truck, to block off some streets, so that motorists would not run over the fire hoses. I was amazed at how stupid people are when there is a fire. They were running over hoses left and right, even after firefighters motioned them to turn around.

I finally had a firefighter ask me to use my truck to block off an intersection. So, I moved my truck across an intersection, and placed my revolving orange beacon light on the top of my truck. As I stood there directing traffic, I talked with the representative from ONG and SBC. The ONG rep was there to cut off the gas, however, the fire was so intense, he could not get to where he needed to shut it off.

As the fire burned, there were many explosions and several transformers kept blowing and throwing sparks. At one time, the fire was so intense that you could actually see a fire tornado. The fire was in the form of a tornado and it was rotating. That was a first for me. Many firefighters were focusing on watering the houses down that were south of the fire. Flames were shooting across the street so quickly.

Like I said, it was very cold, and even though I was warmly dressed, I was still cold. Many times I went and just sit in my pickup just to warm up. During the fire, I contacted my office to make sure that the water treatment plant had boosted the water pressure up for this area. Fortunately, when there is a fire of this magnitude, we are able to boost the pressure up in certain areas so that there is adequate pressure to fight a fire.

Finally, after an hour or so, there were enough OKC police officers around to block traffic, so I was able to leave.

I went back by the site of the fire at around 1:30 PM., and the fire was out. The cleanup effort was underway and the Red Cross had a R & R place set up for the firefighters and for the families that had to be evacuated. As I drove around the corner, there was a piece of heavy equipment sifting through the rubble, trying to uncover hot spots.

One thing for certain....this is the most excitement this neighborhood has had in a long time, and it will be something they will never forget....nor will I.