The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 14, 2013

2 dead in wildfire

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A voracious wildfire driven in all directions by shifting winds has killed two people and destroyed at least 360 homes — a number that was likely to climb as the most destructive blaze in Colorado history burned for a third day through miles of tinder-dry woods, a sheriff said Thursday.

The destruction northeast of Colorado Springs has surpassed last June’s Waldo Canyon fire, which burned 347 homes, killed two people and caused $353 million in insurance claims just 15 miles to the southwest. The heavy losses were blamed in part on explosive population growth in areas with historically high fire risk.

“I never in my wildest dreams imagined we’d be dealing a year later with a very similar circumstance,” said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who drew audible gasps as he announced the number of homes lost to the blaze in Black Forest. The fire was 5 percent contained.

Maketa said one person who was reported missing Wednesday was found safe, but crews on Thursday found the remains of two other people who appeared to be trying to flee. The victims were found in a garage in Black Forest. “The car doors were open as if they were loading or grabbing last-minute things,” Maketa said.

Earlier in the day, residents were ordered to leave 1,000 homes in Colorado Springs. Thursday’s evacuation was the first within the city limits. About 38,000 other people living across roughly 70 square miles were already under orders to get out.

Colorado’s second-largest city, with a population of 430,000, also asked residents of 2,000 more homes to be ready to evacuate. The streets became gridlocked with hundreds of cars while emergency vehicles raced by on shoulders.

Gene Schwarz, 72, said he had never fully unpacked after last year’s fires. He and his neighbors wondered whether open space grassland to the north of them could be a barrier from the flames.

“It doesn’t matter because a spark can fly over from anywhere,” said Schwarz.

Hot, gusty winds fanned the 24-square-mile wildfire, sending it into new areas and back into places that had previously been spared. Even investigators sent in to determine the cause of the fire were pulled out for safety reasons.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Photo Slideshow: James Garner through the years

    Photos of James Garner...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014