Oklahoma firefighter battles wildfire after his own home burns down

VICI, Okla. - The weekend's rain has helped wash away many hot spots in Dewey and Woodward counties.

The Rhea fire is 74 percent contained, and an estimated size is more than 286,000 acres.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said at least 100 homes were destroyed.

"They called and said my house was burning down and I could go," Gregory said.

The news was devastating to Gregory. His Vici home has been in the family for many decades.

"My house was gone," Gregory said. "Wasn't nothing I can do."

He said he did do something, though. He kept working as a grader operator for the Seiling Fire Department.

"I fought fire for 20 years on a piece of equipment, never seen nothing like this," he said.

Gregory said, although he couldn't save his home, that wasn't going to stop him from trying to save other homes.

"My wife and kids were out of the house. There was nothing I could do," he said. "There was other people's lives and everything in danger, so there was no need stopping there."

Governor Mary Fallin visited folks like Gregory who lost just about everything because of the fires. She shook hands with organizations and charities that are now lending their hands to help others.

"Oklahoma is the best of the best when it comes to being able to help their fellow neighbors get the right people, the right place," Fallin said.

Everyone from the Red Cross to Santa Claus handed out toys, all offering assistance.

"We will be calling FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, here in a couple of days to do a joint assessment for individual damages," said OMES director Albert Ashwood.

Gregory said he can't believe the amount of help he has received. Some call it Oklahoma Strong.

"It's unbelievable what the community, the surrounding community, not just here but all over has stepped up and done," he said.

As for what's next, Gregory said "rebuild and go on."

The organizations, state agencies and charities will be at Dewey County fairgrounds throughout the week offering assistance.