Gov. Stitt orders flags be lowered for firefighters who died

Mike Seals - February 4, 2021 11:46 pm

by: 

WAYNOKA, Okla. (KFOR) – Flags in Oklahoma will be lowered on Friday in honor of the two heroic Waynoka firefighters who died while trying to save lives.

Stitt signed Executive Orders 2021-01 and 2021-02, requiring flags be lowered Friday to honor Waynoka Fire Chief Lonnie Leroy Bolar and firefighter Tayler Wade Bradford.

Both Bolar and Bradford died on Jan. 29, while batting a house fire that also killed two residents.

A woman and a man were stuck in a bedroom of the burning home when they called 9-1-1.

Firefighters arrived and found the home consumed by flames.

The front door was blocked by fire and they couldn’t reach the residents through a window.

Assistant State Fire Marshal James Fullingim spoke with KFOR on the day of the deadly blaze and gave the following description of what happened:

“The front door was blocked by fire. We do believe the firefighter did ultimately enter the structure through that door, but we’re not sure of that. They were able to reach the victims, one of the firefighters was with the victim, the other firefighter was apparently trying to find a way out of the structure. The two residents were in the bedroom. Firefighters did make an attempt to rescue the victims, obviously it was a very challenging rescue. The last report we had was the fire was blocking the door. They did enter the structure anyway, they did reach the victims, so it was a very heroic act where they perished.”

– ASSISTANT STATE FIRE MARSHAL JAMES FULLINGIM

Fullingim said the roof and other portions of the home collapsed. He said it has not yet been determined whether the roof collapsing caused the four deaths.

Gene Withrow, the manager of a hotel located across the street from the residence, saw the raging fire.

“I looked outside, you could see flames as high as the trees out there,” he said.

Fullingim reflected on the unfathomable loss of Bolar and Bradford.

“Structure fires are common. Fatalities are less common. Firefighter fatalities are less common yet,” he said. “This is an unusual circumstance this department hasn’t dealt with before, and it’ll be a long healing process for the entire community.”

 

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