Squirrel blamed for substation blaze

OKLAHOMA CITY—There was a close call for a local neighborhood as a grass fire raced toward their homes Sunday morning.

Firefighters rushed to an area by the Belle Isle Wal-Mart around 10:30 a.m. after a grass fire tore through an open field.

When they arrived, they found the flames dangerously close to an OG&E substation and a neighborhood.

 Felton Morgan, Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief, said, “It was going right up there to some cedar trees. We were able to stop it before it actually got going in those cedar trees, because if those cedar trees had gone up, we would’ve had a real threat to those homes over there.”

At first, firefighters thought a problem at that substation could be to blame for the fire.

However, they realized a furry critter trespassing at the station started the whole ordeal.

Tim Locklear was driving by the area and shot the action on his cell phone.

Locklear said, “About three, four seconds in is when we heard the big boom and it exploded. I hear it was a transformer, it was pretty loud.”

During the investigation, firefighters say a dead critter provided a clue as to the cause of the fire.

Morgan said, “That happens from time to time. A squirrel will get up on the line, get himself between the hot and the ground it makes the line spark, obviously, and then sparks come down to the ground and they’ll start these grass fires like this.”

Cut Wollock lives in the neighborhood beyond the row of cedar trees.

Wollock said, “Oh no! One of my buddies are gone then, huh?”

While he’s mourning the loss of a friend, so to speak, he says he is glad firefighters were able to protect his home.

He said, “I’ve got a row of cedar trees right behind my fence here. If it would of got into those it would of, oh yeah, it would of got bad.”

Fortunately, no homes were damaged during Sunday’s blaze.

Firefighters say that blaze burned about two acres back here.