There was a grass fire in Guthrie last week that did some significant damage to approximately 25 acres of land as well as a car. The fire was allegedly started by Guthrie resident Michael Ray Hemby Jr. who was originally charged with fourth degree arson, but it was reduced to a misdemeanor of acts resulting in gross injury by the district attorney’s office. Bond was set at $5,000 with a December 12 hearing date. The fire was started allegedly because Hemby was using burn barrels on the property. “It is against the state law that where garbage pick-up service is available to use burn barrels,” said Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.
While the Logan County area has gotten some rain lately and more is scheduled this weekend, the grass for the most part is very dry in the area. The News Leader reached out to Harlow for a few reminders on outside burning when the grass is so dry. The first was to make sure people are cooking or deep frying their turkeys on pavement surfaces and not grass. Clean up the yard and have approximately a ten foot clearance of leaves and dead grass away from the house.
Check the weather before any controlled burns. High winds will get a fire out of control very quickly and residents can always call the fire department to ask. Guthrie residents inside the city limits must apply for burn permits with the fire department.
A final reminder is to make sure your charcoal is completely extinguished prior to disposing of it, especially if you throw it in the trash can. There was a garage fire locally a couple of years ago because hot charcoal got dumped in the trash can and the residents went to bed.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready recently released some statistics on the upcoming holiday season. There are three times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Deep frying turkey fires result in over $15 million in property damage annually. It is recommended that the turkey fryer is set up more than 10 feet away from the house, as well as keep the pets and children away from the hot grease.
Remember to have a multipurpose, dry-powdered fire extinguisher ready always, in case the oil ignites. Oil and water don’t mix. Never use water to cool down oil or extinguish a grease fire. In case of a fire, immediately call 911 for help.
Do not leave your deep fryer or smoker grill unattended this cooking season. The same rules somewhat hold true when cooking indoors. Always monitor your stovetop cooking. Keep the kids away from the hot stove and hot liquids. Cooking with caution will avoid most issues. Remember to check all your burners before leaving the house or retiring for the night. Do not leave food on the stovetop.
Have a safe holiday cooking season.