Firefighters, volunteer fire department affected by wildfires

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Updated: 8/07/2012 9:18 am Published: 8/06/2012 8:13 pm

After spending the past four days battling wildfires, the Freedom Hill Fire station is still without power in Creek County.

The department also lost an engine and one grass rig caught fire while in use. But, those problems are not stopping the department as it works to try and keep flames from reaching structures.

Kevin Smythe has been fighting fires in Creek County for three decades, and he’s never seen anything like this.

“(It’s) what the apocalypse might look like, it pushes you beyond anything you ever dreamed that you could do,” he said.

Smythe is the chief at Freedom Hill Fire Department, which is an all volunteer department. It has suffered losses of its own as volunteers fought the flames.

“We’ve lost a lot of equipment, had a lot of equipment damaged in this fire. The fuel bill on this fire is just extraordinary. We’ll probably have to make arrangements to pay for the fuel on this one. We don’t have a lot of money. It’s going to hurt,” Smythe said.

Smythe and his Assistant Chief Mike Dunbar are wondering how they’ll make it when the last ember is extinguished.

“This is going to break us, this is going to break our department,” Smythe told FOX23.

The department with a very limited budget is asking for help

“It just seems wrong. It doesn’t seem right to ask for money,” Dunbar said.

If money doesn’t come, “a lot of times we wind up paying for things out of our own pockets.”

No matter what happens, the department will never let a fire, a broken grass rig, or a fuel bill keep them from meeting the needs of the community they love.

“Our friends homes, our relatives homes that are in danger, we have to be out here,” Dunbar said.

The fire has also taken an emotional toll on members of the Freedom Hill Fire Department.

“It’s still hard to take in. I am very tired, very fatigued, and stressed out,” Smythe said.

Smythe says the department hopes to never see anything like these fires again, and he hopes for a change in the weather.

“Rain will end this, that’s what we’re praying for.”

If you would like to donate to help the Freedom Hill Fire Department, you can send checks to their station at this address:

35677 W. 91st St. S.
Mannford, OK 74044

If you have questions, call the department at this number: (918) 352-4102.

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