Multiple calls keep firefighters busy

Published 5:16 am Saturday, June 1, 2019

Wednesday proved to be a busy day for Roanoke Island firefighters.

After a relatively quiet morning, members of the island’s volunteer fire department were called during the lunch hour to Compton Street in Manteo for a general fire alarm.

“There was really nothing much to that call,” said Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department Chief Talmadge Jones. “When we arrived, we found that some construction inside the house had set the alarm off.”

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That was not the case for the next call.

Later in the afternoon, volunteers were in action again when a kitchen fire in Wanchese was called in.

According to Jones, the two occupants in the Harbor Road home were able to exit the structure after the fire started without any reported injuries.

“When we arrived the fire was smoldering,” explained Jones. “You could see smoke puffing out of the roof vents. So we did not open the door to make entry until everything was ready with a hose at the door and everybody in air packs.”

With a potential for fire spread present, a second alarm activated units from Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Manns Harbor and the Colington Rehab Unit to help battle the fire.

Jones went on to say that once everything was in place, a coordinated effort took place between firefighters creating a ventilation opening at one part of the structure at the same time the door was opened for other firefighters to enter the structure and put out the fire.

According to Jones, the fire completely gutted the kitchen and there was major heat and smoke damage to the rest of the house.

Adding credibility to the old superstition that trouble comes in threes, another Manteo fire call came in a little after 8 p.m. when a passing motorist saw flames at a home near the US 64 and Harriot Street intersection.

After the relatively small fire was quickly extinguished, an investigation revealed that two people at the residence has suffered burns from the fire.

According to witnesses at the scene, a resident had poured gasoline on a grill fire to make it bigger. When the fire spread, it caught the clothes of one victim on fire and his companion burned her hands trying to put the fire out. Both were treated by Dare County EMS.

“It was a simple call, but a lot to it,” said RIVFD Assistant chief Mac Gray. “I told him it was not a good idea to put gasoline on a fire to make it bigger and he said it was only a little bit of gas. A lot or a little, it is still not a good idea.”

Firefighters were also not done for the evening.

Shortly before 2 a.m., yet another fire call sent area firefighters to the 6000 block of Old Manns Harbor Road in Manns Harbor for a fire that destroyed a home there.

On arrival, firefighters found a home fully involved with fire that was visible from across the sound. The lack of any nearby water source limited firefighting capabilities while water was shuttled in from the NC Shipyard two miles away.

In addition to RIVFD helping members of the Manns Harbor Fire Department battle the blaze, firefighters from Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Colington were also on hand.

The residents were able to evacuate safely and the cause of that fire is still under investigation.