LUTHER, Okla. (CNN/KFOR) -- A father and son in Oklahoma waited too long to evacuate their farm after they realized it was in the path of a raging wildfire. They sought refuge from the flames in the safest place they could find: a pond.
A bright orange tidal wave of flames swept over Luther Friday evening. Justin Wilson says, "When it came, it came quick. There wasn't no time to try to do anything."
Most families evacuated, but John Wilson thought his five acre farm. His hunting dogs and his family were all out of harm's way. The fire was on the other side of the turnpike, after all. John Wilson says, "We might have just waited just a little too long."
John and son Justin decided to stay back and stomp out some flames encroaching on their property. John says, "When we turned around and looked back, there was a wall of fire higher than the house."
When they realized that fire was beyond their control, they knew they had to get out. They ran for their vehicles but by then it was too late. Tires melting, interiors singed, the cars were inoperable. So they had no other choice but to ride out the fire on the property, in the safest place they could find; a quarter mile away, an 8 foot deep farm pond.
It protected them, and a frightened box turtle from raining embers. John says, "He was hot and he figured he needed water. So he didn't even give us a second thought. He just ran right between us and bailed out in the water. He was like, get over fellas, I need some water too."
John says it was "hell on earth". And then, a surprise phone call from a brave neighbor. John says, "He says, 'where are you?' I said, 'we're in a pond.' He said, 'well, I'm coming to you.' I said, 'there's fire and flames all over the place, how you going to come here?' He said, 'I'll be there in a minute.'"
That neighbor cut a path through those flames, rescued the Wilsons and sped away. John says, "We left with what we had on our back. But that's better than nothing."
The Wilsons returned Monday with hopes of salvaging something, anything. They have no material possessions, but they do have family, and their faith. John says, "That's what this says right in the bible here, this is from Job 8:7 about your beginnings."
And a new bible from this Oklahoma chaplain. John says, "That's the best place to start. Build on this, it'll stand for a long time." A strong foundation for a fresh beginning.