Large woods fire threatens residents' homes

A large fire burns near Smithfield (Image credit Carter Rabil)

September 20, 2010 8:12:19 PM PDT
Forestry officials are monitoring hot spots after a large woods fire broke out east of I-95 outside Smithfield in the Daughtry Road/Crocker Road area Monday afternoon.It started out as a brush fire that spread quickly and charred 65 acres, prompting authorities to evacuate nearby residents.

A forestry plane and helicopter were able to contain it around 6 p.m.

However, fire fighters say the hot spots may keep them out there all night and in the days to come, because they say areas that may have been put out by a helicopter dropping water, sparked back up because of how hot things are underneath.

Around 9 p.m. Monday, crews did a complete walk around the fire break they had created earlier in the day. They say no embers have jumped the line, so the fire is still contained. However, they say things are still very hot inside the line.

Earlier in the day, resident Bonnie Anderson said she watched as fire truck after fire truck rolled in and a helicopter began picking up water from a pond behind her house.

"I went outside and the smoke was so black, so black," Anderson said. "It was amazing, the pilot knew exactly what he was doing."

Evacuee Marcia Sennholtz said she was coming home from work when she saw the flames.

"I wasn't really concerned about my stuff I was scared to death about my animals," Sennholtz said. "It's very scary."

She says she got the animals out, but then had to turn her back everything else. Others said they watched from further away as winds pushed flames uncomfortably close.

"When you've got a fire like that, you're at God's mercy, ain't much you can do," farmer Dwight Mayo said.

The hot spots have some residents still on edge.

"There's ash all around right now, so I'm still not ... there's a little fire right there," Sennholtz said. "So I'm still not feeling really safe about going home and spending the night.

Meanwhile, authorities say so far no one has been hurt and no homes have been lost in the blaze.

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