Next chance of rain to move in this weekend

Wildfire destroys 71-year-old man’s NE metro home for the second time since he built it

OKLAHOMA CITY - A grass fire in the area of E. Hefner Road and N. Kelley Avenue burned 200 acres of land and severely damaged a 71-year-old man's home he built himself.

Henry Dewberry built the house when he was 19, more than 50 years ago. He said this is the second time it's burned down.

"It really don't seem real," Dewberry said.

He was on his way home from the hospital when he saw the flames.

"I saw the smoke from Wilshire and I said, 'that's headed toward my house,'" he said.

When he arrived, the flames hadn't reached his house, but not long after he realized he was engulfed in smoke.

"All of a sudden, smoke just over, you couldn't see a foot in front of you, you couldn't see your hand," Dewberry said.

Outside, the flames overtook two of his cars and despite fire crews' best efforts, fire eventually invaded his home.

"It just, just tore up, tore up everything," Dewberry said.

Not far away, neighbor John Roach witnessed the initial flames, started by a downed powerline near Centennial High School. Gusts of wind News 4 measured to exceed 30 mph fueled the fire.

"It just started spreading," Roach said. "I felt the heat at my house from it. The trees behind me at one time, the were all going up in flames."

It took less than an hour for a few burning acres to turn into 200 acres. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from getting past the burning deck of another nearby home, but the inferno left its mark.

"You have to think like an ember," said Batt. Chief Benny Fulkerson. "An ember can travel up to a mile in front of one of these fires on a good, strong, windy day, and it can start other fires downwind."