Firefighters rally around Okla. FD after station destroyed in blaze

Several fire departments have donated gear and equipment after the department lost almost everything in the fire


Chesley Oxendine
Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

WEBBERS FALLS, Okla. — The first thought to cross Webbers Falls resident Linda Simmons’ mind when she saw the fire station burned down was “what happens if someone needs the fire department?” she said.

“We’ve already been through so much,” Simmons said. “With the flooding and everything, I just thought to myself, ‘what in the world could go wrong next? What happens if there’s a fire in town?’”

One building of the Webbers Falls Fire Station, located on Oklahoma 100, burned to the ground Wednesday afternoon, destroying two brushfire trucks, two boats and all of the Webbers Falls fire department’s gear.

“The ignition scenario was accidental. That’s about all we can release at this time,” said State Fire Marshal’s Office Agent Donnie Howard. “I’d say the damages were pretty close to $350,000 — there was a lot of fire gear in there, a boat or two, grass rigs. With all of those contents combined, we’re getting pretty close to that.”

Thanks to the efforts of nearby departments, however, Webbers Falls’ emergency response remains available for any circumstances, said Fire Chief Shawn Smith.

“We’ve got quite a bit of equipment donated. I don’t know, there’s probably eight departments that are donating some gear. We’ve got gear coming from every direction,” Smith said. “As of right now, we are still operational, we can still run all calls.”

The Webbers Falls Fire Department is focused on keeping the surrounding community safe through the use of donated equipment and support from local departments, Smith said.

“We also have some automatic mutual aid. Say we get a call, Warner will be paged out, Porum will be paged out and Gore Rural will be paged out to assist as needed, just depending on the area,” Smith said. “We will keep our community safe, no matter what it takes.”

Smith said the support was emblematic of a common bond between firefighters.

“It is an unexplainable brotherhood that we have. We do this because we want to help one another and help our community,” Smith said. “It’s just something you don’t think twice about. You just do it.”

For Simmons, the promise of safety was enough to ease her worries, she said.

“These guys know what they’re doing, and if they say they’ve got it under control, I trust them,” Simmons said. “I’m glad to see other departments stepping up to help, too. God knows our town needs the support.”

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©2020 the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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