12/01/06 — Blaze renter thought she had extinguished destroys two vehicles

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Blaze renter thought she had extinguished destroys two vehicles

By Lee Williams
Published in News on December 1, 2006 1:45 PM

Sometimes bad luck happens in threes.

That's what a renter who lived on Old N.C. 111 found out after a pile of leaves she thought she had extinguished Saturday, rekindled Thursday, spread to a nearby field and devoured two late model vehicles.

Units of the Elroy, Pinewood and Arrington volunteer fire departments responded to 576 Old N.C. 111 to extinguish the fire at about 12:30 p.m. Peggy Hare, a renter, lived at the home. Avery Davis owned the home, officials said.

Elroy Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Mozingo did not return calls for comment. However, Wayne County Fire Marshal Brian Taylor confirmed the fire started from a pile of leaves that rekindled.

"According to Ms. Hare, they had raked leaves over the weekend and burned the leaves on Saturday," Taylor said Thursday. "They put water on it and they thought they had it out, but with the wind we had today and the remaining embers, it rekindled. It blew over to a field nearby and started the fire."

Witnesses near the scene of the fire said pecans in the burning pile began to pop.

The fire spread and burned two cars that were awaiting mechanical repairs at another homeowner's property.

The fire continued to spread and threatened two nearby barns and a turkey house, but the fire was doused before it was too late, Taylor said.

"A neighbor got a water hose," Taylor said. "He stopped the fire right as it got to his barn."

Wayne County Ranger Dwight Bryant responded to the scene to help Taylor investigate the fire. After probing the matter, Bryant issued a warning ticket to Ms. Hare for leaving a fire unattended. But, he added, the investigation is not over.

"We wrote a warning ticket for an unattended fire, and we're going to leave it at that until the investigation is complete," Bryant said.