Wildfire destroys numerous homes
BY SCOTT KNESS
Law enforcement officials were keeping people out of the area of Lake Meredith until emergency personnel could contain the danger caused by a major wildfire that began Sunday.
At Fritch City Hall Monday, Emily West, the utility billing supervisor, was busy answering telephone call after telephone call concerning power outages, water shut-offs, etc.
“It’s a terrible situation, so many have lost their homes, it’s a dangerous situation with power lines down and propane tanks exploding,” West said.
Estimates of between 75 and 100 homes are gone.
Hundreds of people, organizations, churches, businesses, were all working together to assist those in the crisis. Those in charge organizing this response were fast at work, but the task is monumental.
The Red Cross has already seen about 200 evacuees check into the Sanford-Fritch High School gym. Some 25 fire departments in a 165-mile radius have responded .
Those closest to the situation on the ground working were not afforded more than a moment to discuss specifics.
Red Cross coordinator Steve Pair, just inside the lobby of the high school said, “People need to know that the Sanford-Fritch High School is where people need to come for assistance.”
Additionally, he said the immediate needs were diapers, water, towels, disposable razors, etc.
“The most awful realization is that there are over 100 families in need of housing”, said George Grover of KQTY Radio in Borger.
Monetary donations can be made throughout the Red Cross or the Salvation Army website www.redcross.org/quickdonate/index.jsp or call the Texas Panhandle Chapter at 806-376-6309. The public can designate that donation to the Hutchinson County Fire.
Pair did request that the public hold off from making any clothing or other in-kind donations to the Red Cross at this time until officials can assess the needs of those who have been impacted by the fire.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes Sunday afternoon as firefighters battled flames and thick plumes of smoke across two miles of dry, dusty plains, according to the Associated Press.
Madeline Lyckman and Josh Blyghe woke up in a local hotel in Borger this morning after losing their home in the fire. The two had only owned the home a year.
“I ust got all my stuff out of storage the day before,” Lyckman said. “We saw the fire and ran out over to Mom and Dad’s house. We saved everyone else’s house but our own. So that is how that goes.”
Lyckman’s mother, Beth, lived near where the fire originally began, she said. That house was unscathed by the fire, Beth said this morning.
Blyghe said they couple hadn’t a clue where they will live.
“We’ve got each other, got our dogs,” Lyckman said. “Mom and dad said they’d let us stay with them until we get back on our feet.”
Lyndel Moody, staff writer, and the Associated Press also contributed to this story.