Burning bits of newly harvested cotton carried by swirling winds spread fire through the city, destroying at least 29 houses and businesses, injuring 18 people and keeping up to 400 from their homes Wednesday.
The winds that had gusted to 65 mph and spread flames Tuesday were tame Wednesday as police and firefighters conducted a house-to-house search of the charred commercial and residential area. No bodies were found, officials said."I can't imagine anyone thinking up a scenario like this where there would be a fire break out in a field of cotton modules when the wind is blowing 60 miles per hour. It sounds like a scene out of a horror movie," said Gov. Henry Bellmon after a tour of the area this morning.
The fire, whose cause was unknown, spread to the city from giant bundles of cotton stored in an open field. The fire skipped like a tornado through the residential area, burning some houses and leaving others unscathed, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.