DURHAM (WTVD) -- Four members of the Spring Lake Fire Department are now back in Cumberland County after volunteering to help crews battling raging fires out west. The crew traveled 185 miles to Lake Lure to help 1,600 other fire personnel from agencies across the country.
Assistant Fire Chief Jason Williams says the deployment was a voluntary effort. Though they heard about the extent of the fire, they were soon met with the realities of the magnitude of the blaze.
"It's smoke, really, really thick smoke. There's just fire all through the mountain," Williams said.
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This was the first wildfire experience for all four crew members, but they volunteered to deploy because they felt they needed to repay the support they got during Hurricane Matthew.
"We just got through with Matthew and had a lot of help from other agencies so anytime we can give back to help out our brothers and sisters out there we do it," Michael Beale said.
While the team worked to prevent blazes from further damaging property in Lake Lure, gratitude and hope also spread like wildfire.
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"People stop us and wave and are so appreciative" Williams said.
The Spring Lake Fire Department is considering another deployment in December but that will depend on the containment progress.