(CNN) -- A former reporter for a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station and his wife were killed when fire swept through their property in rural Montague County, Texas, a family member told the station Friday.
A house burns after wildfires raced through rural Montague County in Texas.
1 of 2 The deaths of Matt and Cathy Quinn are the first known fatalities in the fires that scorched parts of Texas and Oklahoma Thursday, and were reported on the Web site of WFAA-TV.
Cathy's son, Chris, suffered burns and was being treated Friday at the Parkland Memorial Hospital burn unit in Dallas, the station, a CNN affiliate, said on its Web site. He was reported in fair condition.
The wildfires in the two states seemed to be dying down Friday after injuring at least 34 people and prompting several hundred others to evacuate.
Flames were spread Thursday by winds up to 40 mph, and in some places, fires kicked up again Friday after appearing extinguished.
Winds remained gusty, said CNN's Ed Lavandera, reporting from the Oklahoma
Early Friday, video showed a few people walking among the ruins of homes in Midwest City. The fire picked its victims at random, one person said, burning down one home while leaving the structure next door unscathed, a hopscotch pattern caused by embers blown from one place to another by the winds.
Crews were waiting for daylight to assess damage in a region that stretched along the I-35 corridor from the Texas state line to about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City, said Albert Ashwood, state director of emergency management.
Dozens of homes, businesses destroyed
"It's terrible, especially if it's your house that was out there," he said Friday.
In Oklahoma, most of the wildfires appeared to be out before dawn Friday, Ashwood said.
Wildfires also burned Thursday night in Texas. The fires in both states, officials said, found plenty of fuel because of dry conditions throughout the Southwest.
The weather forecast brought reason for optimism. Forecasters were predicting less severe winds for Friday, Ashwood said, with a chance of rain for the weekend.
At least several hundred people left home after authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for Oklahoma towns that included Healdton, Sparks, Velma, Wellston and Midwest City.
Two of the 34 people who were hurt suffered serious injuries, Ashwood said.
Several dozen homes were believed burned down in Midwest City, where about 1,000 people were evacuated.
"There may be way more damage than that," said city Fire Marshal Jerry Lojka. "We don't have any idea at this time."
Late Thursday night, Lojka said firefighters were having trouble keeping up.
"When you have gusts to 40 mph and there's brush involved -- it picks those embers up, it creates a fireball that lifts it over the top of us and carries it a quarter-mile past us," he said.
A resident called the situation "heartbreaking. It happened so fast." iReport.com: Are wildfires affecting you?
On the southwest side of Oklahoma City, fires engulfed eight homes and were believed to be destroying many more.
Aerial video footage in one central Oklahoma city showed row after row of houses in several different neighborhoods engulfed in flames.
A firefighter who was working near Lindsey, Oklahoma, was in critical condition with third-degree burns over 35 percent of his body, according to a hospital spokeswoman. A motorist in Oklahoma was also hospitalized after driving into an area with heavy smoke, authorities said.
In Texas, the 100-person town of Stoneburg was "burned over" by a 25,000-acre fire, said Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Misty Wilburn.
The town, northwest of Dallas near the Oklahoma state line, had been evacuated, she said.
Wilburn said Texas authorities were working at least nine major fires Thursday evening -- seven in the west of the state and two in the north.
"Everything we have is committed to fires," she said. "Everyone is maxed out."
Feeding the flames Thursday night were strong winds that gusted as high as 76 mph -- the strength of a Category 1 hurricane -- and grounding many emergency aircraft that can't fly safely in those conditions.
A spokesman for the Texas Forest Service said fires were working their way toward Fort Worth, Wichita Falls and Amarillo, among other cities.
He said there were so many blazes that firefighters were having to ignore some of them. Watch video of wildfires in Bowie, Texas Ľ
The National Weather Service had categorized much of Texas and Oklahoma an "extremely critical fire weather area" Thursday because of the dry conditions and winds. Large portions of western and central Texas and western Oklahoma are experiencing persistent drought conditions, according to the service.
In Breckenridge, Texas, a fire that started in an old landfill and burned several hundred acres had been contained just north of the city limits, according to fire officials.
This could be a very busy Easter weekend in texas.Be careful my friends and good luck!
Results 1 to 4 of 4
04-10-2009, 12:05 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Two Died in texas-1 Firefighter critical
Last edited by coldfront; 04-10-2009 at 12:12 PM.Always a day late and a dollar short!
04-11-2009, 06:58 PM #2
That sucks...Kind of like OZ stay and defend or go early..Looking like the jury says go early."The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."
04-11-2009, 09:34 PM #3
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
Oklahoma Firefighter Down
I hate to add this reply, but id like to add a downed firefighter here in oklahoma. We had several large fires in
lincoln County on mentioned above near Wellston every department in the county was mutal aiding wellston. A firefighter from Iowa Tride Fire Dept. got caught up in the blaze with third degree burns from the waist down and up his back, his unit was also lost in the fire lets keep all of the downed brothers in our prayers.N.ELDER 919 CARNEY FIRE
04-12-2009, 06:15 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
Oklahoma firefighter down
I hate to have to post this kind of thing. On thursday Central Oklahoma firefighters were battling some of the worst grass fires turned structure fires in a long time. i am on the Carney fire dept. we assisted on 4 major fires Thursday. The first one in Wellston, Ok. took down an Iowa Tribe Firefighter who got caught in the flames he was wearing his wildlannd gear and got 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 90 % of his body. "which makes you wonder what if he had of been wearing structure gear would he of gotten burned as bad" Last update i got was he was in OU medical Center on a ventulator at 40% and was sedated. The unit he was in was a total loss but that is just material. we need to keep all of the downed firefighters in our minds from Texas to Oklahoma, Not to mention the 120 plus families who lost everything the had.N.ELDER 919 CARNEY FIRE
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