03/11/04 — Fires keep volunteer departments hopping

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Fires keep volunteer departments hopping

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 11, 2004 2:06 PM

"It was a mess," said Elroy Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Mozingo.

He was referring to three fires flaming up around the same time Wednesday afternoon. All seven fire departments on the east side of Wayne County were scrambling to respond.

About 15 to 20 acres of woods burned between Piedmont Airlines and Oak Forest roads. A mobile home at 1311 Ditchbank Road and a vacant mobile home at Atlas Price Road and N.C. 55 were also destroyed in fires while the woods fire was burning.

Pinewood Volunteer Fire Department

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

A Pinewood Volunteer Fire Department truck is used to spray water on a woods and brush fire off Piedmont Airlines Road on Wednesday.

All three fires appeared to be accidents. But Emergency Services and fire officials speculated that the woods fire and the mobile home fire on Atlas Price Road may have been caused by children playing with matches.

No injuries were reported.

Because the three fires were being fought at about the same time, Mozingo said, a New Hope fire truck was stationed at U.S. 70 and N.C. 111 as a precaution in case another fire broke out.

Two N.C. Forestry Service plows also were summoned to cut off the woods fire from nearby houses. One plow reportedly got stuck and had to be pulled out by the other plow.

"It burned to the back of the buildings," Mozingo said of the fire, "but we had fire trucks in place to stop it."

Several Elroy trucks were positioned to stop the fire's advance.

Pinewood assisted with three trucks, Goldsboro brought two and New Hope and Arrington also had one. Firefighters remained until about 5:30 p.m. to make sure the blaze was out. The owners of the burned land were unknown at press time.

About 15 minutes after the woods were ablaze, the mobile home on Ditchbank Road caught on fire.

"I could see it roaring," said Mozingo, who was at the woods fire.

"Arrington and New Hope made a quick response and made a good knockdown," he said.

The resident, Judith McCurdy, returned as firefighters were putting out the blaze and said a computer may have caused it.

The 1986 14-by-70-foot mobile home was valued at $10,000 and contents were valued at $5,000. Damage was estimated at $8,000 to the home. The contents were destroyed. The owner was listed as Greenpoint Credit.

The mobile home on Atlas Price Road near N.C. 55 was at the edge of a mobile home park. Pricetown Fire Chief Joey McCullen said the older-model vacant home was owned by Mike White, who operates the park and lives on Sanderson Road.

Pricetown, Indian Springs and Seven Springs firefighters answered the call shortly after noon and put out the fire.

All but McCullen had left, and the fire rekindled, "because the wind was blowing so hard. I had to call everyone back," he said.

They stayed about two hours to put out the fire, investigate the cause and finish salvage work.

Chief Mozingo may have summed up the firefighters' feelings that day when he said, "It's one of those situation you hate to be in."