Daughter of Oklahoma Volunteer Firefighter Who Died Battling Blaze Remembers The Legacy She Leaves Behind
News 9 - March 23, 2022 4:33 pm
ELGIN, Oklahoma –
An Oklahoma mother and volunteer firefighter lost her life on the job fighting a wildfire.
She passed away Sunday, her daughter shared her legacy with News 9.
“I’m still processing it still, she’s my mom, she’s my hero, my best friend,” said daughter Schuyler Wilken.
For more than 20 years April Partridge volunteered, responding to fires when called.
“She liked helping people it’s what she lived for,” said Wilken.
Sunday was no different. Edgewater Park’s April Partridge and her son Brian were one of the first on the scene of a fire in northern Comanche County.
“He said it was very loud and that the fire was moving extremely fast and with the winds we had yesterday (Sunday), it got away from them,” said Wilken.
With winds gusting and smoke limiting visibility, the veteran firefighter became lost.
“When they went to leave, she was apparently not there, so she was separated from her crew,” said Oklahoma State Asst. Fire Marshal James Fullingim.
“I got the call at one o’clock yesterday (Sunday) that my mother was severely injured and that they were performing CPR,” said Wilken.
The fire scorched nearly 200 acres. Wilken’s mother suffered burns to more than 80% of her body.
“Forty-five minutes later I got the call that they could not resuscitate her, that she was gone, that she didn’t make it,” said Wilken.
Her loss is hard to come to terms with. In October, April rang the bell, surviving her toughest battle.
“Just beat breast cancer, didn’t think that this is how she was going to go out,” said Wilken.
Wilken in the pouring rain watched as firefighters, police, and community supporters escorted her mother, her hero, home.
“She wanted to leave a mark on this world, something positive for someone to look back on and say, she did it so can I,” said Wilken.