Category Archives: FIRE
Homeowners escape without injury
ORIENTAL – Horrific fire, with mind-numbing blazes, Saturday morning about 11:30 completely destroyed the two-story residence of George and Judy Smith at 402 Whittaker Point Drive – and may have severely damaged two vehicles parked in the home’s driveway.
The homeowners escaped, and reported no injuries.
By noon, massive flames had totally engulfed the structure. At one point — before an overwhelming response by up to four Volunteer Fire Departments – the blaze, fanned by a brisk breeze, threatened a nearby residence.
However, a vacant lot – though wooded and strewn with dry leaves – served as a buffer until firefighters arrived.
The homeowner, George Smith – interviewed roadside while his newly remodeled home burned – said the cause of the fire “was a charger for my golf cart battery.” Smith, on the mend from recent knee surgery, had the presence of mind to call 911 while hobbling from the structure. His wife, Judy, is also safe.
More details on this tragedy will follow in subsequent posts.
Carteret County Sheriff’s Office
Major Jason A. Wank, Chief Detective 304 Craven Street * Beaufort, NC 28516 (252) 728-8400
RELEASE DATE: 06/10/2016
On Friday, 06/10/2016, at 4:48 am fire departments from Cedar Island, Sea Level, Stacy, and Atlantic responded to a house fire at 111 Briar Patch Rd in Cedar Island. Fire officials and law enforcement personnel were notified that the home may have been occupied by at least one person and a dog.
Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Michael Panzarella and Fire Marshall Eddie Lewis confirm that one person perished in the fire and has since been removed from the home and was transported to Carteret Heath Care. The dog that may have been in the home has not been located.
At this time the name of the victim is not being released because official notification to next of kin has not been made due to phones being off for airline travel.
Sheriff’s Investigators will be working with the Carteret County Fire Marshalls office to determine a cause of the fire. At this time no foul play is suspected.
For Immediate Release: Pamlico County, NC – Structure Fire (Fatality) 5-January-2016
On Tuesday, January 05, 2016 at 0925 hours, Pamlico County Volunteer Fire Departments (Vandemere, Triangle, Goose Creek Island and Pamlico County Rescue Squad) with an initial “Tanker Task Force” Alarm for Grantsboro-Silverhill and Reelsboro Fire Departments were dispatched to 282 Swan Point Rd. in the Maribel Community of Bayboro, NC. Initial reports of Fire Conditions and confirmation of a victim entrapped within the structure constituted a Mutual Aid “All Hands” Alarm which included responders from Arapahoe, Southeast Pamlico, Florence-Whortonsville, and Olympia Fire Departments.
First arriving Fire Companies and Law Enforcement Officers discovered a 2 story wood frame house with heavy fire conditions emitting from the windows and roof. A Valant effort was made by first arriving responders and citizens to enter the burning structure in attempt to locate and remove a female victim. Dangerous fire, smoke, and heat conditions hindered rescue attempts inside the burning dwelling. An aggressive fire attack was made and as conditions improved, a female victim was located within the front bedroom of the dwelling and pronounced deceased by Medical Personnel. The victim has been identified as Pamlico County Resident Martha Rosetta Jones, 84 years of age.
Emergency Medical Crews transported a 2°ct female victim with burns to Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern, NC. This victim is listed in stable condition at this time. The burns received were from attempts to rescue the decedent from the dwelling.
The Cause and Determination Investigation of the origin of the Fire was conducted by the Pamlico County Fire Marshal’s Office in cooperation with the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations. At the conclusion of this investigation, the cause of the Fire has been determined to be that of an Electric Heater, in close proximity to combustibles and was Accidental.
If there are any questions or concerns regarding this incident, feel free to contact the Pamlico County Fire Marshal’s Office at (252)-745-4131.
RIVER DUNES –Pamlico County relies upon volunteer fire departments – nine total – to cope with all types of emergencies. And, the department tasked with protecting the biggest, most valuable chunk of homes — Southeast Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department – christened a three-bay substation Saturday.
Alton Spruill, chief of Station 19, praised River Dunes property owners and River Dunes Corp. for their roles in the effort.
“River Dunes played a big part in helping with the vision of this substation,” said Spruill. “Everybody who owns property in this area pays a fire district tax, and on top of that, River Dunes Corp. donated the property for this building.”
Within a five-mail radius of the substation, Pamlico County Fire Marshal Chris Murray said the Fire Rating assigned by the state’s Insurance Services Organization is scheduled to drop from a 10 to a 6, effective Aug. 1 –yielding reduced fire insurance premiums throughout the district.
A highlight of the afternoon was a ‘wetdown’ – sort of a fire hose battle in which firefighters from the Arapahoe VFD, Triangle VFD, and Florence-Whortonsville VFD teamed up to drench a spirited, but out-manned quartet of firefighters representing the new substation.
Community responds to needs of family
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
MERRITT – A devastating fire Sunday night that wrecked the home and lives of two brothers and their grandparents triggered an outpouring of community support over the last three days. Arapahoe Charter School where Lance is a sixth-grader, and Pamlico Middle School where Tom is an eighth-grade football player, are at the forefront of the recovery efforts. The boys are in temporary housing, thanks to the largesse of a Charter School family. And, the grandparents are in Red Cross-paid hotel accommodations in Oriental.
Benefactors for the family have established a Wells Fargo bank account in Bayboro, titled the Baldree Rebuild Funds. Donations can be made at Wells Fargo, at Arapahoe Charter School, and at several area churches.
This Saturday, cleanup and recovery efforts begin at 9 a.m. Volunteers are needed to move, sweep, and otherwise assist with cleaning and rehabilitating the family’s possessions, which will then be put into storage containers.
“We will have a game plan ready,” explained Mike Fuller, an employee of the Charter School and one of several who is spearheading the assistance effort. “We are looking to have three or four crews assigned to various tasks.”
Fuller added that chainsaws – and men to operate them– are needed. One or more air compressors will also be welcome, in addition to rags, trash bags, and cleaning supplies. Volunteers should wear sturdy boots, gloves, and protective clothing, possibly to include masks to minimize inhalation of particulates.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Hwy. 55 to Florence Road. Travel five to six miles, then turn left on Bell Point Lane. Go three-fourths of a mile and turn left on Rivers Edge Road. For more information, call Fuller at (252) 635-7088.
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
GRANTSBORO – Firefighters responded to an alarm at Pamlico Christian Academy about 3 a.m. Thursday, but were unable to quickly pinpoint the source of smoke.
The school is located in part of New Life Praise & Worship Ministries, known by many in the community as the “Log Cabin Church,” labeled as such for its unique log siding.
Emergency vehicles from the Grantsboro-Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department and similar units from Triangle Volunteer Fire Department remained on the scene as officials followed standard procedures in an attempt to isolate and ultimately neutralize any problem.
By Mac Rubel | Special to the County Compass
“Everyone is invited,” said Fire Chief Chris Lee. “This is a special occasion and it is open to everyone in the County, especially all members of our sister stations, Pamlico Rescue, and the County Sheriff’s Office. We all work together as a community. We should share in the celebration too.”
In addition to selling a plate lunch featuring either barbecue or fried chicken (or both), members of five or six local churches and organizations will be helping with a community bake sale of homemade goodies. Free soft drinks are provided by the New Bern Pepsi Cola Bottling Company.
In addition to food and drink, look for presentations on fire safety and first aid, displays of fire and rescue equipment, and a ‘photo-op’ for kids sitting in the driver’s seat of Arapahoe’s first-line engine and getting a chance to spray water with a real fire hose. The 25 members of Station 15 will be there to help and answer your questions.
Orders will also be taken for emergency reflective house locator signs that are mandated by the county to help find house locations when emergency services are called.
NC State Forest Service personnel and Smokey the Bear, fire fighters and equipment from sister stations from around the county will also be on hand to help with the festivities.
The celebration will kick off at eleven in the morning and will run until 2:30 pm. At that time there will be the drawing for Arapahoe’s 50th Anniversary Raffle. Prizes for the raffle, ranging from a 12-gauge pump action shotgun to gift certificates from local businesses and food from several local establishments, have been kindly donated by many of our local businesses.
Tickets will be on sale at the station throughout the day. Come and celebrate with Station 15, Arapahoe Fire-Rescue!
By Judith Lynch | Staff Writer
ORIENTAL — Over 50 interested citizens attended a meeting Monday evening as Mayor Bill Sage, town commissioners, town manager Bob Maxbauer, and several members of the Southeast Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department discussed the fate of a World War II era siren.
At the center of controversy is the recently refurbished, now glistening bright yellow emergency/fire siren standing six feet high, four feet wide and weighing in at a whopping 700 pounds.
Twenty-two horns arranged in two layers produce an ear-splitting 113-decibel wail, which can be heard over a large area. The power needed to run this behemoth is 3-phase — far beyond normal household electricity, and one of the prime factors influencing the future of the siren.
Sage called the meeting to gather information and to clear up misinformation about where the siren – ensconced for many years atop the Town Hall roof – might be located now that it has been overhauled.
Reaching a decision was not the intent of the commissioners’ Monday night session.
Instead, they would carefully consider the facts presented, then make an intelligent and informed decision at a future date.
As background, repairing Irene’s flood damage presented an opportunity to not only raise Town Hall’s floor level against future storm surges, but to significantly remodel and improve the building to better serve the community. While soaked walls, inefficient windows and moldy carpets were being removed, the wooden poles supporting the siren were found to be suspect.
Officials trucked the rusty old siren to the fire station on Straight Road. Should the siren go back up, and if so, where?
Alan Arnfast, seven-years Captain of the volunteer fire department, answered one important question Monday night: “Why do we need a physical siren?”
Arnfast explained the requirements of the Insurance Services Organization (ISO), a consortium that rates a fire department’s emergency response capabilities and risk factors, and dictates insurance rates.
The ISO requires two forms of communication to alert first responders. Pagers and cell phones seem appropriate, but may become unusable during a lengthy power outage. Hence, using a siren (and backup 3-phase generator) is the preferred, primary method of alerting vital responders.
The siren is the lone user of 3-phase power at Town Hall, and based on estimates from Progress Energy, bringing the 3-phase up to code, along with ancillary equipment, would cost thousands. The water plant and Well #2 on Gilgo Road already have the required power, and moving the siren to either place should cost far less.
Relocating the siren might also enhance the new look of Town Hall and provide residents in the heart of town with some relief from the blasts occurring on average twice a month. The hot button issue was the possibility of simply relocating the siren to another residential neighborhood.
Several citizens made it clear that a siren in some other area of town would be exceedingly unpopular.
After listening carefully to all comments and suggestions, Sage requested the meeting continue the next morning (Tuesday) – where Maxbauer (the town manager), fire fighters, and commissioners discussed the technical concerns and costs related to keeping the siren at the Town Hall location.
In a press release issued after that meeting, Commissioner Barbara Venturi wrote that a new, taller pole will place the siren 15 feet higher than in the past. The additional height will reduce the noise to adjacent residents, and the alert will travel further.
At the town’s regular monthly meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Arnfast will report to the board on the “state of the siren.” The meeting is open to the public, and officials expect a crowd.
With so many local landmarks becoming memories, Oriental has an opportunity to embrace the restoration and resurrection of what many consider a historically important local artifact. A Civil Defense warning system installed either during World War II or the Cold War might make a fascinating display for the town’s history museum.
Some believe the handsome siren has the potential to become as highly regarded and famous as PEDRO, the MCAS Cherry Point search and rescue helicopter that often assists our Coast Guard.
Members of the Southeast Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department who spent over 200 hours sanding, cleaning, repairing and painting the giant siren deserve recognition for their efforts. Headed by Bob Dales, Station Engineer, the crew included Terry Walsh, Dan Forman, Mike Guzzo, Mike Craig, Josh Plank, Gary Ramsey, and Ralph Schaar.
Jan “the Canadian” Dique ably documented the restoration project, which can be viewed at www.photobucket.com/aggie_the_siren). The siren gobbled vast amounts of rust remover, epoxy primer and Awlgrip, generously donated by Arnfast, who manages Sailcraft Service in Oriental (in his spare time).
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
PAMLICO / BEAUFORT COUNTY LINE – A quick response from four volunteer fire departments – and a massive fire break cut by the North Carolina Forest Service – quelled a wind-whipped fire late Wednesday afternoon that, at one point, threatened to jump Highway 33 just east of the county line.
Heavy equipment operator Tim Godwin, a veteran Forest Service employee based in Pamlico County, was the star of the show. Shortly after 6 p.m. — as his colleagues and other firefighters looked on –Godwin
dipped his huge machine off the north shoulder of the rural roadway into the smoky, mosquito-infested wetlands.
In less than an hour, Godwin had plowed a deep, ten-foot wide firebreak around the blaze, exposing wet earth and eliminating any fuel for the advancing blaze.
“This is what we call a tractor fire,” explained Terry Groome, captain of the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department,
which was one of the first units to arrive on the scene. “We wait until the Forest Service gets here with the big tractor. We can’t get into that marsh like they can.”
Bossy Hardison, who supervises the Forest Service office in Pamlico County, said the fire looked to be of suspicious origin.
“When you see two hot spots this far apart,” said Hardison, “you always consider the possibility of arson.”