NORMAN — “There was so much smoke and we started piling clothes in our car, but we missed things like my teeth,” said Jaime O’Brien, a Slaughterville resident.
O’Brien lost everything she was unable to pack into the car before the wildfires destroyed her mobile home and shop last weekend. But she was still able to joke about forgetting her teeth and other essentials.
It wasn’t until she was running away in flip flops that had burned on the bottom that she realized she didn’t grab anything to cover her feet. After going to the shelter set up in Noble, she and her family were able to get shoes and other items.
“I finally got my toes covered,” O’Brien said.
She said she feels more lucky than most because, over the past year, she had been cleaning things up and packing them away, enabling her to go over all of the good memories she collected over the years.
“Maybe God knew I was ready and thought, ‘You didn’t throw away enough of your junk,’” she said with a laugh.
She was able to save pictures of the day her mobile home was delivered to the property, the day after Thanksgiving in 1995. Where the mobile home and shop used to stand, she said she can still envision her dad laying down a concrete slab, while her son ran around in a Halloween costume.
“The property is just so much home,” she said.
O’Brien still shares the mobile home with her son, Christian Garza, as well as his girlfirend, Angela Fraga, and her daughter, Charlotte. She said she and her family plan on cleaning the property up and she will continue living there.
One thing she was surprised to find undamaged was her propane tank, which still held 200 gallons. As for items in the home and shop, she doesn’t think anything will be salvageable.
Another challenge she could face is job loss. With the possibility of Sitel laying off employees, O’Brien said she might lose her job at the end of the month.
However, she is remaining optimistic because she said she will still be able to receive unemployement.