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Massive fire on Tonkawa lot littered with propane tanks

TONKAWA, Okla. - A massive fire had firefighters on the defensive as it burned through an overgrown property Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to a property on the corner of Public Street and W. South Avenue at 2:45 p.m. It was on a private property used mostly as storage for various items.

"Tires, and old tankers, and old trucks, and a couple of buildings," said neighbor Virginia Huegel. "That's all it is."

Overgrown grass hides a littering of highly flammable and dangerous items that contributed to an out of control situation.

"Scattered throughout the property were small propane cylinders, and then a larger unknown propane cylinder of unknown size that was venting as it warmed up, which makes the fire quite a bit bigger," said Tonkawa Fire Chief Justin Kienzle. "That's why we took a defensive mode on it."

A defensive mode means firefighters had contain the fire to where it was, and keep a safe distance otherwise. No one was injured but a storage building was lost. Now damage estimates are expected to top $125,000.

Firefighters are still investigating whether the fire was started on purpose.

"There is a person or people of interest that are being talked to," Chief Kienzle said.

Huegel said she heard the persons of interest claimed they were trying to cook when things got out of hand.

"Fixing hot dogs, ok fine," Huegel said. "That's not believable, but ok. Go with it."

Now Kienzle said with the strong winds, firefighters could spend the next couple days keeping a close eye on the smoldering remains to make sure another fire isn't sparked.

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