|Updated: 10/10/2012 10:20 am
||Published: 10/09/2012 10:23 pm
It has been a difficult month for Lieutenant Ben Hatcher and the rest of the Turley Volunteer Fire Department.
“It has been pretty frustrating,” said Hatcher.
From September 6th to October 5th the Turley Volunteer Fire Department responded to close to a dozen fires. Most of the fires happened in abandoned buildings or homes. Firefighters were also called to grass fires.
“We had about a week span where we ran four or five different grass fires on the Osage Prairie Trail,” said Hatcher.
Firefighters do not know if the fires are connected, but they have happened within a square mile of each other.
Hatcher said the structure fires appear to be arson.
The Oklahoma State Fire Marshals Office is investigating the fires, but there are no suspects at this time.
Hatcher said they have been fortunate that no one has been injured in the fires but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
“Whoever is responsible, they don’t understand that it still threatens other structures and the community.”
The Turley Volunteer Fire Department has an $18,000 annual budget. Lt. Hatcher said that the spike in fires this month has put a strain on their resources.
“It racks up pretty quickly,” said Hatcher.
Hatcher said budget issues pale in comparison to the biggest issue at hand; the community’s safety.
Hatcher said that fires typically increase during the winter months and his biggest fear is that the crews will be dealing with a burning abandoned building when people need them.
“People who are actually going to need our help and are we going to be hung up on an arson fire that was set just for someone to get some thrills,” said Hatcher.
If you have any information that could help in the investigation call you local police or the Fire Marshal’s Office at 1-800-522-8666.