Cache_They say an arsonist almost always comes back to the scene of the crime. It just may be true. Comanche County Sheriff's Department nabbed a man at one of the fire scenes and arrested him on suspicion of third degree arson.
Investigators say Willard Guerette is the man they think set the grass fire near Deyo Mission Road and Coombs on Wednesday. The fire consumed more than 500 acres, and burned down an empty house. Guerette was also spotted in the Tillman County area when the fires blazed on Wednesday. He is being held in the Comanche County Jail.
Huge wildfires ignited west of Lawton, one near Red Elk and Coombs, the other at Deyo Mission Road. Comanche County has now seen it's first structure go up in flames this seasonSmoke filled the sky as firefighters rushed to the scene where a barn caught fire and threatened a nearby house. Firefighters say no one had lived in the house for several years.
Eight fire departments responded to the quickly-spreading fire in western Comanche County, and smoke could be seen from Lawton's east side. Firefighters were having difficulty battling the blaze. At one point they ran out of water, and a truck got a flat tire. They are still trying to contain the fire, and there is no word yet on its cause. Officials say over 500 acres burned.
Dawn Hettiger's sister-in-law lives on Deyo Mission Road, and when she and her husband got to the fire, they saw the house was safe. "We were actually eating in town, sitting at Sonic eating lunch, and my husband noticed the fire had gotten really big, and so we decided to check it out," she says.
Shelly Gordon lives on the west side of Deyo Mission Road and watched as the fire approached her side of the road. She says it was a little too close. "Too close for comfort - if you can hear it crackling, that's way too close."
The fire departments were able to contain the flames in that area of Deyo Mission Road before they could do any damage to the homes there, but one house wasn't so lucky. A house on Coombs, not far from the Deyo Mission fire, burned to the ground. Luckily, no one lived there.
Officials say the cause of the fire is arson, and residents are very upset about it. "It's just not right for you to take somebody's property and their lives," says Gordon. "I mean, somebody could have been really hurt and, you know, not just property. Property can be replaced, but memories, memories can't be replaced, and people can't be replaced."
Officials say they have a strong lead on who they believe started the fires. They say a firefighter spotted a suspicious vehicle leaving the scene. Witnesses have also provided authorities detailed information.