Deputy's bodycam shows him narrowly escaping the Oregon Road inferno
Harrowing bodycam footage showing a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy desperately trying to evacuate people as the Oregon Road fire near Elk exploded and changed directions was released Thursday.
The fire, fueled by wind and extremely dry conditions, began around 4 p.m. August 8 in the Elk, Millan and Chattaroy areas of north Spokane County.
Deputy Brittan Morgan tried desperately to convince a man to evacuate, as the fire was headed right towards their location. The man was concerned about livestock on his property, and assured Deputy Morgan that he had a way out.
In the bodycam video, you can see Deputy Morgan following another deputy with emergency lights on, as they were surrounded by burning trees that were falling, and their patrol vehicles were pummeled with thousands of burning embers. The stress and danger of the situation became all too clear for Deputy Morgan. You can hear him pleading with his fellow deputy to drive faster:
"You're not getting me today, [expletive]!"
"Eat my [expletive] fat [expletive], fire!"
"Hurry the [expletive] up, Dave!"
"I don't want to [expletive] die in this [expletive]!"
"Hurry up, Dave!"
"Holy [expletive]! That was scary!"
The deputies narrowly escaped the inferno, but the danger wasn't over. Deputy Morgan, having just witnessed the potential for loss of life due to the fire, pleaded with residents who were racing toward the flames, fearing for their properties and everything they had.
Deputy Morgan can be seen grabbing the shoulders of one man, who was desperate to save his trailer; the deputy asked, quietly,
"Is it insured?"
"No!" the man said, his voice breaking.
Toward the end of the bodycam clip, a man in a black sedan pulls up to Deputy Morgan. It was the same man from the beginning of the video, that wouldn't leave until he could do something to give his animals a fighting chance at survival.
"Thank you, bro! I was so worried about you! Are you ok? I know you're probably sad for your horses right now, but I'm glad you're alive," Deputy Morgan told the distraught man.
The Oregon Road fire burned over 10,800 acres and destroyed at least 120 homes.
The Gray fire in Medical Lake, which started only a few hours before the Oregon Road fire, burned over 10,000 acres and wiped out about 200 homes. An elderly man was found dead in the fire in Medical Lake, and another man was also discovered dead on Oregon Road near Elk.