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August 5, 2012

Stephens County Fire Task Force responds to Fort Cobb fire

DUNCAN — Stephens County fire departments joined forces Friday to help bring a fire at Fort Cobb under control.

The Stephens County Fire Task Force, which included help from Duncan, Marlow, Comanche, Velma, Empire, Bray, Central High and Meridian fire departments, responded to a mutual aid call in Fort Cobb. Fort Cobb and the surrounding town are located in Caddo County.

Ryan Hall with the Marlow Fire Department headed the task force, which took off from the Lawton-Duncan Y about 4 p.m. Friday. Hall said the task force is activated whenever a county emergency manager calls for help to get a fire under control. By Saturday morning, firefighters were still working on the blaze.

This was the fourth time this year the task force has been activated. They’ve responded to calls in Elgin, Indiahoma and Hastings. Indiahoma and Hastings took place less than a week prior to the fire at Fort Cobb and around the same time the Stephens County Board of Commissioners approved a burn ban.

Friday morning, Governor Mary Fallin announced a state wide burn ban for all 77 Oklahoma counties.

Hall said the idea behind the task force is it allows the county to help other area, while maintaining the coverage Stephens County needs in case of a fire at home. Each department sends only two or three firefighters and fire unit to help in other areas.

In addition to the firefighters and seven brush trucks and water tanker being sent, Stephens County District 1 sent a water tanker and a fuel tanker, and Duncan sent a communication unit.

“Even when we do get activated, our county is still covered,” Hall said.

By having all of the fire departments in the county as part of the task force, each department can send firefighters if needed. Hall said the fire departments that help depend on where the fires are and how many firefighters the departments have available at the time.

Larry Martin, Meridian Volunteer Fire Department, said the task force does alleviate the stress off any one department by having all departments share the burden of the mutual aid call.

“It does not diminish any one department,” Martin said.

He said the idea of the task force has worked well because of the cooperation among the departments and the support of the Stephens County communities.

Martin said the task force has become an asset to Stephens County. He said the county commissioners helped to bring the task force together.

“We’re appreciative of the support of the county commissioners,” Martin said.

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