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Oklahoma wildfire destroys homes, forces evacuations

Man killed by Oklahoma wildfire refused to evacuate, officials say.
By Frances Burns   |   May 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM   |   Comments

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GUTHRIE, Okla., May 5 (UPI) -- A wildfire in central Oklahoma whipped by high winds burned several houses and took at least one life, officials said Monday.

The fire started as a controlled burn Sunday afternoon near Guthrie. As it blazed out of control, it spread through grass in a region known as the Cross Timber, a strip of prairie and woods that marks the boundary in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas of the Great Plains.

Guthrie Fire Chief Edmund Harlow said the one known casualty was a man, 56, who refused to leave his mobile home Sunday when he was advised to evacuate.

Other residents of the area described getting out with just enough time to grab a few valuables and sometimes just their children and pets. Alyssa Hutton said she was loading her truck and preparing to leave when she heard propane tanks exploding with a noise "like an airplane taking off."

“There was smoke and ash flying everywhere,” she told the Oklahoman.

About 1,000 people were forced to evacuate.

Harlow said the fire was about 75 percent contained Monday morning. But he said the area faced more hot dry weather.

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