Texas, Oklahoma Smokehouse Creek Fire

Nathan Blankenship and his grandmother Joyce Blankenship in 2015. Courtesy Nathan Blankenship

One person has died as a result of wildfires in hard-hit Hutchinson County, a county official said Wednesday afternoon.

“We have one confirmed death from Scotts Acres (near Stinnett),” said Deitra Thomas, Hutchinson County public engagement coordinator.

Although Thomas did not identify the victim, Joyce Blankenship, 83, died at her home in Stinnett, her family told CNN.

Blankenship's stepson, Lee Quesada, said he was well-known and beloved in the small community. Her husband, Jimmy, died in 2015.

“Jimmy was a substitute teacher in the area before she became a homemaker while working at the local Phillips refinery,” Quezada said. “She will be missed by all.”

Another of his grandsons, Nathan Blankenship, told CNN that he and his father called several times Tuesday but got no answer as the fire raged through the area. The next day I got the news that she had died.

“The house is gone,” Nathan Blankenship said. “There's no way she can get out.”

Nathan recalls fond memories of his grandparents at home, where he often stayed as his father worked long shifts. Joyce would get him ready for school many mornings, he said.

“She was my biggest supporter and supported me,” he said. “She was my biggest advocate.”

The couple last spoke on February 19 when Nathan called to see her.

“I want to ask you that I love you one last time,” he said.

Thomas said the fire destroyed at least 20 structures in Stinnett earlier Wednesday.

See also  Michael Jordan Asks Viola Davis to Star in 'Air' - Variety

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *