‘All I could do was cry’: Mobile home, memories damaged in grass fire

OKLAHOMA CITY - Walking the hall of her 20-year mobile home, Dlorah Duke can’t believe the destruction.

“I wouldn’t call it a home now,” Duke told NewsChannel 4. “It’s definitely destroyed. There’s no way to fix this.”

A grass fire charred 900 acres in southeast Oklahoma City Sunday. The fire department reported relatively minor damage: two mobile homes, two outbuildings, one RV, no injuries, no harm to livestock.

But to Duke, nothing about the fire feels minor.

“This house is gone,” she said, pointing to a kitchen she and her husband and just begun to renovate. “I planned on staying here till I was too old and the kids had to put us in a nursing home someday. This is bad.”

Many of the things stored on the north side of Duke’s home, where the fire did its worst damage, were momentos and memories, handed down from generations before her.

Flames roasted her mother’s cedar chest and all but destroyed her grandfather’s framed roster from World War I.

“When we were down the road watching the smoke, all I could do was cry and tell my husband I’ve lost my momma’s stuff,” Duke said. “My momma’s stuff is all gone and everything she left for me is gone.”

But then Duke points to a heavy book with a tattered cover.

“But thank you Jesus, it’s not [gone],” she said, opening her grandmother’s Bible. “It is here.”

Inside are family birth and death certificates, military service records and handwritten notes.

In the garage are photos Duke rescued before the flames, treasured memories of children and grandchildren.

“I would have ran through fire for these,” she said, stacking her wedding album on top of scrapbooks. “I thought all this stuff would be gone.”

It will be a long road for Duke’s family to recover. She doesn’t have home insurance and her husband recently lost his job.

But the possessions that survived the fire are at least some sort of comfort.

“This is stuff [that survived],” Duke said, looking down at the Bible, “and somehow it will be alright.”