Martha couple loses home of 50 years in town fire

Martha couple loses home of 50 years in town fire
(Source KSWO)

MARTHA, OK (KSWO) - Some Martha, Oklahoma residents are now without a home because of a fire that ripped through the town on Saturday. Fifteen homes were destroyed, and the entire town had to evacuate to Martha Road Baptist Church.

"I've never seen my mother-in-law, father-in-law cry like that," said Chandler Peter, in-laws house destroyed in fire. "As well as my wife because this is where she grew up."

Peter and his wife were in Texas when they got the call that their parents' home was on fire.

The couple lost one of their cars, can't locate their family cat and their family home of 50 years is now a total loss.

"My brother in law actually tried to fight the fire with a hose and had to be treated with smoke inhalation," said Peter.

Officials said the fire started with a cotton module that caught fire in town.

Jackson County Emergency Management Director Erik Mowbray said power and gas were cut throughout the entire town, due to the blaze, high winds, and smoke.

"At one point I was sitting a block away from a stop sign and I could not see that stop sign," said Mowbray. "The smoke was so thick. I ended up going into the smoke a couple of times and it got to where I couldn't breathe or see. It kind of looked like a sea of red."

Peter's in-laws and the town of Martha were evacuated to Martha Road Baptist Church.

"I haven't experienced anything personal like this not in the immediate family," said Peter. "Obviously, you see things on TV, but it's a lot different when it happens this close to home."

Loran Mayes volunteered at the church throughout the night, providing those in need and fire crews with food, places to clean up and shelter.

She said helping those who lost their homes have been the hardest part.

"This is my first experience with seeing families with loss and so that's a new experience," said Mayes. "Sharing in that grief, that's tough."

As for Peter and his family, they are still working on their next steps to rebuild the family home.

He offers advice to those supporters that are looking to help.

"Number one be there," said Peter. "Number two pray. Three if you can provide any financial or material support that's what is needed at least in a time like this. But I think being there is the most important thing."

If you would like to donate to help those affected by the fire you can call contact Martha Road Baptist Church directly.

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