Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 20, 2012

Stillwater mechanics swat out fire caused by lightning

STILLWATER, Okla. — When they left work Thursday night, Stillwater mechanics Travis and Zack Howe did not imagine they would be moments away from fighting a fire.

But that’s exactly how events unfolded for the Stillwater father and son.

A lightning strike in the yard of a Stillwater resident on the east side of Stillwater caused a grass fire.

The Howes saw the lightning strike, and seconds later, saw smoke.

“We saw the fire from the highway,” said 19-year-old Zack Howe. “And there was smoke almost immediately. We just reacted.”

Travis Howe said it took approximately 30 seconds to reach the site  in the 3700 block of East Sixth Street.

The Howes poured water from a cooler on the fire, then collected wet towels and blankets from the homeowner, and began swatting the fire that Zack said was spreading fast.

Zack Howe said he asked the homeowner for a water hose, but the owner said he did not have one.

“It was getting pretty close to the house, maybe about two feet,” he said. “If we didn’t get on that fire, it would have definitely got to his house.”

Zack Howe said he suffered a slight burn on his right arm.

“We just reacted,” said Travis Howe. “I would hope somebody would help me if that happened at my house.”

Travis Howe said he and his son beat the flames in the yard until the fire was extinguished approximately 15 minutes after their arrival.

“They don’t really want attention and don’t expect anything in return,” said Angela Watson, a friend of the Howes who informed the NewsPress of the incident.

Stillwater Fire Department battalion chief Rick Hauf said people should be cautious around a fire.

“We encourage people not to engage a fire,” said Hauf. “Individuals with no experience and proper gear are advised to stay away. But we want people to quickly give us good information so that we can take care of it

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