Weekend Brush Fire Destroys Building, Homes Spared
A brush fire off Joel Road near Carthage Saturday threatened several homes before being brought under control.
More than half of the fire departments in Moore County were on the scene to battle the fast-spreading blaze. Meanwhile, an early morning fire destroyed a large storage building and threatened others on May Street in Southern Pines Tuesday.
The Carthage Fire Department arrived about a minute after receiving the call on Joel Road, according to Fire Chief Brian Tyner.
"We'd just returned from another call and were getting out of the fire trucks when we got the alarm," the chief said. "We got there in under two minutes."
The fire consumed outbuildings and farming equipment. It threatened nearby homes along the southern edge of the popularly traveled route, Tyner said.
A large farm pond proved a fortunate source as pumpers pulled water to throw it in high arcs toward flames and to douse smoldering sections as they brought the fire under control.
Carthage police officers and sheriff's deputies blocked Joel Road just past the scene and at its Hillcrest entrance on U.S. 15-501 for about two hours.
Firefighters, lights flashing, raced to the fire from all points.
"We had five structures, two or three lost completely," Tyner said from his command post as activity was winding down. "I am not sure of the amount of acreage so far. We are getting the Forest Service to find that out. We kept it from getting to fuel tanks, to any occupied residences - things like that."
A classic John Deere tractor, bought new in the 1970s and kept in top condition by its late owner, had been stored in one building destroyed by the fire. Firefighters managed to stop the blaze before it could reach a pair of large diesel fuel tanks adjacent to the two buildings.
Lighter wind conditions helped in battling the blaze, Tyner said. Higher winds could have fueled the fire and resulted in it reaching houses. No homes were lost, and no one was injured. EMS workers waited with their gear across the road for calls than never came.
"It was windy enough," Tyner said. "Thank God it slowed down enough for us to get a handle on the fire."
Within an hour to 90 minutes, crews were able to bring the fire under control, according to Tyner. Equipment and crews from some departments in the southeastern end of the county had to be divided, with half the companies' resources heading toward Sanford to assist with a Lee County fire while others raced to the Joel Road situation south of Carthage.
In the Tuesday blaze, firefighters from Southern Pines and three other departments responded to a call at 1090 N. May St. at 4:42 a.m.
"When we got there, a large storage building was fully involved and threatening another building," said Southern Pines Assistant Fire Chief Mike Cameron.
The burning building was empty and unoccupied but did have power, Cameron said. The second storage building was not empty but suffered only minor exterior damage, Cameron said.
The fire also burned a quarter to a half acre of trees on the land.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, but it is believed to be "electrical in nature," Cameron said.
Firefighters from the Aberdeen, Circle V and Pinehurst departments also responded.
Senior Writer Tom Embrey contributed to this report. Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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