Fire overwhelmed Afton Air and Lights on 103 SW 1st Street in downtown Afton, destroying the building Sunday evening.
AFTON— Fire overwhelmed Afton Air and Lights on 103 SW 1st Street in downtown Afton, destroying the building Sunday evening.
Afton Fire Chief Jason Speer said the Afton Fire Department received a call regarding a structure fire downtown at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. The entire department, which consists of 14 volunteer firefighters, arrived on scene within five minutes.
The fairly new business located in between the post office and city hall was completely destroyed. Speer said the was at least $50,000 damages, but there were no fatalities or injuries.
“They (the occupants) said they had just left 20 minutes prior to that to go have dinner,” Speer said.
An Afton City official said the building, itself, was very old and used to house a daycare called “Happiness Is A Learning Center.” The current occupants were renovating the building.
“They were refurbishing the building and said they were doing a lot of remodeling inside,” Speer said.
Speer and his crew were on scene until 1 a.m. Monday morning.
“It burnt to the ground,” Speer said. “Once the fire broke through the roof, it couldn’t be stopped. It just took hold.”
The strong Oklahoma winds over the weekend helped fuel the fire. According to Speer, the windows of the post office next door were cracked due to the intensity of the heat. Some of the glass windows of the business on the south side of the highway had also melted.
“Other than that, there weren’t any other structures involved,” Speer said.
Jeff Reynolds, Fairland Fire Chief, said his department assisted with the fire and was called in shortly after 8 p.m.
“I heard Afton get called to it,” Reynolds said. “We were at the fire station having a meeting. They called and asked for help and we sent a crew.”
The Fairland Fire Department arrived in Afton approximately seven minutes after receiving the call with 14 firefighters. The Fairland crew returned back to their station at 10:30 p.m. while the Afton firefighters remained on scene until the next morning.
“They stayed out there late,” Reynolds said. “It was late for them guys. I talked to Jason earlier myself, too, and he said he never went to sleep that night.”
Reynolds mentioned that the fire was still smoldering and smoking as of Monday morning.
“There was still quite a bit of smoke coming off of it,” Reynolds said. “It’s just there were so many roofs and a metal roof that went down on top of it. There was no way to get into it. It was hot.”
According to Reynolds and Speer, the playground next to the structure remained intact.
“The trees kind of shielded the heat off of it, and then there was a gas meter on that side of the house, too, that we were trying to keep cool,” Reynolds said.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown and remains under investigation.
“It’s still too hot for the investigator to get in there to it,” Speer said.
Kimberly W. Barker is a staff writer for the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiamiNews_hound