A year after wildfires, Creek County still rebuilding

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Reported by: Phil Price
Updated: 8/02/2013 5:25 pm Published: 8/02/2013 5:14 pm

It is almost one year since what is considered the most destructive wildfire in state history.

Families in Creek County are still trying get their lives back on track. Hundreds of families lost everything they owned.

The fires leveled at least 250 homes in Creek County alone. From Bristow to Mannford, and communities in between, neighbors fled the fast-moving flames.

FOX23's Phil Price talked to Stan Drake, his attempt to save his property from the fire was unsuccessful, but he and the community were not defeated.

"Anytime there's a disaster it tends to bring a community closer together," said John Syverson.

Syverson is pastor of the Freedom Hill Baptist Church and project manager for the ongoing recovery efforts in Creek County.

He's experienced the devastating grass fires last year and he's seen the recovery since.

"We've seen the need from somebody just needing a tree cut-down cause they're scared it's going to fall on their house to somebody needing a brand new home," he said.

Like Stan Drake, a deeply religious man who stood toe to toe against the fires before he finally had to flee or risk losing everything, including his life.

"I stayed up all night. We fought it then I ran out of water the next day," said Drake.

Besides a few pieces of clothing, Drake lost everything.

It's these losses that still haunt Drumright Fire Chief Wade Guyer.

"What bothers me most was seeing a lot of the structures going up. We weren't able to get in there and protect them," said Guyer.

Even though the fire threat is much lower today Guyer knows this can and will happen again.

"I never want to see anything like it again. But I'm sure it will happen again. Just a matter of time," said Guyer.

Something Drake told FOX23 he is worried about, but that's not his focus right now, is his new home.

"I was really down until that trailer; they pulled it up front here. And that really gave me some new hope," he said.

Drake said they are still working to get the trailer leveled but hopes he, his daughter and his granddaughter can begin moving in in a few weeks.

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