Stillwater News Press

Local News

September 17, 2012

Cause of Glencoe fire still unknown

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Payne County Sheriff’s Department and State Fire Marshal have closed their cases on a fire that devastated Glencoe in early August.

After gathering evidence and speaking with witnesses, neither agencies could determine the exact cause of the blaze.

According to the fire marshal’s report, prepared by Agent Terry Smith, the wildland fire originated near a petroleum pipeline installation where welding, earth moving equipment and vehicles were present in the vegetation, but a cause could not be determined.

According to the reports, IPS Pipeline had hired 11 Global Pipeline Construction employees to work on a section of its pipeline just east of Prairie Road and north of Airport Road.

A deputy who was one of the first to arrive at the fire said a pipeline welder told the deputy he had been welding but soon found himself surrounded by fire.

According to the sheriff’s department report, no witnesses saw the fire ignite.

According to questionnaires filled out by Global workers under supervision of an attorney, the fire was noticed around 11 a.m. when the crew was welding.

Workers noted that they had parked the welding truck with the rear axle at the welding point to use the bed as a shield and they had also used a bond board. The workers stated they had rushed to the fire and attempted to put it out with fire extinguishers.

When asked who was on fire watch in the report, most put they did not know. Some stated no one was on fire watch and at least one worker said that they were on fire watch.

For many residents of rural Glencoe, the wild fire was devastating. An Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management report shows 63 Payne County homes were damaged, including 53 that were destroyed. According to Sheriff’s Captain Kevin Woodward, several attorneys representing fire victims have requested the fire investigation documents.

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