T U L S A, Okla., Oct. 22, 2000 -- Garth Brooks didn’t stand outside of this fire.
The country superstar helped another man, who was not identified, evacuate two boys from their rural northeastern Oklahoma house, which stood in the path of a fast-moving, grass-fueled blaze Thursday afternoon.
Ryan Cooper, 14, and Randall Cooper, 10, were at home alone on a school break when someone began beating on the door of their wood-frame home in Collinsville, about 10 miles north of Tulsa.
“I opened the door and the guy said, ‘There’s a fire. You’ve got to get out,’ so I went out,” Randall told the Tulsa World. “The guy who turned out to be Garth was back behind him.”
Randall said he yelled for his brother to leave, but Ryan was showering and said he didn’t hear the warning until Brooks yelled up the stairs.
“He was yelling, ‘Ryan, Ryan!’ I was like, ‘Who are you,’ and he said, ‘Get in the truck.’”
Ryan said he didn’t immediately recognize the country star, but said Brooks drove him about 20 yards through dense smoke to a neighbor’s truck, where he joined his brother.
Fire Fast as a Bullet
Firefighters arrived in time to save the Coopers’ house. Scorch marks from the fire stopped 2 feet from the house’s foundation.
“The fire came in like a bullet,” Randall said. “The flames were taller than the house. You couldn’t see anything because the smoke was so thick.”
The boys said they didn’t learn the identity of their rescuer until they were told by a neighbor.
“You just got saved by Garth Brooks,” Ryan said the neighbor told them.
Brooks’ in-laws live within miles of the fire, and he reportedly is building a new home nearby. The fire ended up scorching about 600 acres, officials said.
Brooks apparently sought no recognition for his deed. A Capitol Records spokeswoman said she had spoken to him Friday and that he never mentioned the fire.
Brooks could not be reached for comment.
Some New Fans
Famous for hits like “The Thunder Rolls” and “Standing Outside the Fire,” Brooks is the best-selling artist in country music. He announced in December 1999 that he might retire because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Recently, he agreed to a divorce from his wife of 14 years, Sandy Brooks.
Besides saving the boys, Brooks may also have earned a few more fans with his efforts.
“We’re not country music fans — that’s why they wouldn’t have known him,” the boys’ mother, Jodi Cooper, said of her sons.
She said her husband, Kevin, also may turn into a Garth Brooks fan after learning the country star also helped a neighborhood boy push the Coopers’ boat out of a barn that was threatened by the fire.
“He gets my vote. He took care of all of my interests,” Kevin Cooper said. “He saved my kids and my boat.”