Cannon Ball Residents Say Fire Destroyed Homes and Church

By  | 

Windgusts of more than 50 miles per hour caused havoc across parts of Western North Dakota this afternoon.

Fires broke out midafternoon in Sterling and Wing. There were also two separate fires in Cannon Ball on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

More than 200 people were evacuated from the town and moved to the Cannon Ball Pit Stop, as the blaze approached homes.

Highway 1806 south of Mandan was closed for more than an hour.

Residents say several residences were burned and a community church.

"We're all in distress. You know, some of us are homeless. We just a got a home and we are worried now. We didn't want to leave but they chased him out. It's terrible. " said Charlotte Ramsey, Cannon Ball resident.

"We just kind of got everyone out of there - my grandma, the younger ones. That's when they sent them to the casino," said Patrick Kelly, Cannon Ball resident.

"A policeman came by and we were watering the lawn with a hose, trying to keep it wet. And he said you better leave now soon. So that's that. And we've been out at the Pit Stop for a couple hours and we can't go back yet because all the power is out now," said Pastor Tipi Wakan.

"Up south, there's got to be about 50 of us and within the community, there's got to be about 500, and this isn't even half of them cause of most of them won't leave their homes," said Ramsey.

"A couple of house burned and a trailer and the UCC Church was leveled. It looks like most everything has been spared though. The fire seemed to go about the North and South. So we've been blessed."

Some Cannon Ball residents say the blaze broke out when a hay bale caught fire.

Evacuated residents were given food and shelter at the Prairie Knights Casino.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe posted on Facebook that they are also providing emergency shelter.

Of course, we'll keep you updated with more information as it's made available.