Freedom Hill Fire Department expands station, adds new equipment in prepartion for summer grassfires

MANNFORD - Firefighters in Creek County are preparing for another summer and hope upgraded tools and equipment can help them stop anything Mother Nature brings there way – including a recording braking natural disaster.

Last August, wildfires in Creek County rushed through the land, charring 70,000 acres and leaving nothing more than ash where more than 400 homes once stood.

"We couldn't answer calls fast enough of people calling and telling us, ‘The fire's coming close. What do I do?" said Kevin Smythe, Freedom Hill Fire Department Chief, said.

Volunteer firefighters spent several days fighting the fire with outdated and minimal equipment.

"It tested everybody, "Smythe said. "I lost count at 200 different agencies from all over the state, Texas and Arkansas."

Barbara Smythe, Kevin's daughter-in-law and a volunteer firefighter, said the department desperately needed the aid.

"When we ran out of resources and all of our firetrucks were busy fighting fires elsewhere," she said. "We said there's nothing we can do, do the best you can. We're blessed that no one lost their lives."To make sure that doesn't happen again, Freedom Hill firefighters are building a 3,200 square-foot building.

They'll use it as a classroom to train their volunteer firefighters and those in surrounding communities.

They also have new equipment including a new grass truck and air conditioning unit.

And this fire department is getting some much needed help in their renovations. Freedom Hill received funding from the Oklahoma State Forestry for the building, the air conditioner from Train and the trucks from Hulberton Fire Department and Explorer Pipeline..


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