Grass Fire Destroys Home

***Update: A GoFundMe page has been verified, and is accepting donations for Sue Lawson’s family.***

Early on Wednesday afternoon, a grass fire started near the NW corner of 63rd Street and Hiwassee Road, at the home of Sue Lawson. A friend of the homeowner was hitching a trailer to the back of his pickup, when the exhaust from the truck set the grass on fire. High winds in excess of 30 mph combined with the dry weather caused the fire to spread quickly. Flames moved upward into the overhangs of the nearby barn and then advanced northeast toward the home. The mobile home nearby had a beautiful wooden wraparound porch. Once the porch caught fire, the rest of the home was unsalvageable. The fire moved underneath the home, consuming the entire structure almost instantaneously. “There were not enough resources on hand quick enough to save the house,” said Jones Fire Chief Mark Taylor.

Ammunition in the home was set off during the blaze. Several rounds of shot gun shells, rifle shells, and a pistol were reportedly heard by fire fighters. There were also cans of gasoline, diesel, and propane stored in the shop that began exploding in the blaze. The blasts from these items were heard by residents in the Jones Station neighborhood. Thankfully no one was injured.

Emergency crews from Jones, Hickory Hills, Harrah, Choctaw, Luther, Midwest City, Spencer, OKC Station #27 and OKC Station #4 showed up to help. Once the fire fighters arrived on the scene, they quickly realized the home and barn could not be saved. In a split-second decision, they moved their efforts to protecting the Jones Station neighborhood directly to the North of this home. Resources included several fire engines, tankers, and brush pumpers. The emergency crews lined the streets of Jones Station and the North end of the Lawson property preparing to battle the blaze. Midwest City Medic-13 was also available to treat fire fighters and residents for smoke inhalation.

Residents of Jones Station reported thick, black smoke billowing from the South, with the ashen smell infiltrating their homes. Many neighbors in Jones Station were at work or out of town enjoying the spring break holiday. Once word got out that a fire was looming nearby, several residents rushed home to begin watering lawns, and moving pets to safety. Over 70 homes in the Jones Station Neighborhood were saved today due to the quick actions of emergency crews and residents.

Mrs. Sue Lawson stands on the top of the hill with her three great-grandchildren, watching as fire crews continue to put out hotspots in the place where her home once stood.

In the aftermath of the blaze, Sue Lawson and her three great-grandchildren, Tatum, Sunni, and Lucy, stood in shock at the end of their driveway. Their home and all of their belongings were completely destroyed. Looking from the top of the hill as firemen continue to put out hotspots around where her home once stood, Mrs. Lawson testifies to God’s goodness and provision even during a time of unimaginable loss. “God answers prayers. He does,” she says. The grief and shock of this day remind her of a day three years ago, when she lost her beloved husband, Bob Lawson. She and Bob purchased this 40-acre property over 20 years ago. The barn that was the first ablaze was hand-built by her late husband. She said as she comforted her great-granddaughters after the loss, little Lucy cried out saying, “We don’t have any more pictures of Papa Bob.”

“God answers prayers. He does.”

Sue Lawson

Within a few hours of the fire, Jones residents began showing their love in small and tangible ways. Sunni escaped the fire without any shoes, and she was already donning a new pair of rainbow sneakers. A hotel room was secured for the family for the next few nights, and the First Baptist Church of Jones is preparing the fully-furnished parsonage for the family to use. Family friend, Michele Barber, is also coordinating donations, and secured over 5 bags of children’s clothing and raised over $2,000 to cover immediate expenses. The FBC parsonage, located at 115 NW 3rd Street, will be open from 5 pm – 7 pm on Thursday evening, to drop off donations for the Lawson family. Temporary needs include shoes, clothing, and toiletries. Gift cards to Walmart will also be useful, as the family waits on funding from their insurance company to recover their losses.

***Update: A GoFundMe page has been verified, and is accepting donations for Sue Lawson’s family.***

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Jones Fire Chief, Mark Taylor, offers these words of wisdom to residents during this fire season. Keep your grass mowed down, especially near the home, do not use outdoor fires or grills, avoid dumping fireplace ashes, and be careful with cigarette buts.

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