Story and Photos by Bob Bartosz
On November 2, 2013, the Enfield (NC) Fire Department in Halifax County and other agencies conducted an controlled burn with two large, two-story frame dwellings with add on extensions. Both dwellings were more than 80 years old and had been vacant for a long time and were condemned by the town of to make way for new commercial properties.
The fire department was asked to conduct a live burn (but no live fire training was permitted). Enfield fire chief Ronnie Locke was in charge of the event. He asked multiple fire departments in the area to assist his company on this large burn. The event took place on Main Street (Highway 301) which ran straight through the center of the town. Companies assisting them were Halifax, Darlington, Scotland Neck, Whitakers, along with Halifax County EMS, American Red Cross ( Rehab Unit ), Enfield Police Dept. and Halifax County Sheriff Dept.
This turned out to be a perfect day for a perfect event. The night before the burn a large rain storm came through the area, wetting down the trees and grass.
Companies arrived shortly before 8 a.m. Halifax aerial ladder setup on the north end of the buildings in a parking lot of a gas station. Enfield ladder setup on the south side on Highway 301. Various 2 1/2 lines were stretched, including water sprinkler devices around the area exposures which included a one-story brick building that was not included during the live burn.
More than 55 fire and EMS personnel were on hand for the event.
Highway 301 remained open most of the time during the burn event and was only shut down during the movement of fire equipment. Firefighters stretched more than 800 feet of 5 inch fire hose on the east side of Highway 301 so that it would not interfere with traffic. To make things a perfect day, the wind was blowing away from the center of town so not to affect any of the residents and no complaints were made about the burn. The first house went off at 9:00 a.m. and went completely to the ground within an hour. Firefighters then repositioned equipment and apparatus for the second dwelling. The second burn was ignited and that house was also on the ground before 11:15 a.m. A local church in town supplied a lunch for the firefighters and EMS members after the burn
The live burn event went perfectly, no complaints, no one injured, no traffic delays. Chief Locke gave high praise to all personnel in their performances and participation on The Perfect Day for A Perfect Burn.
Assisting Fire Chief Locke was Emergency Director Phil Ricks of Halifax County and Fire Chief Brian Mutzabaugh of Whitakers Fire Dept. of Nash County, who was the Fire Safety Officer.
For more of Bob's photos from this fire, CLICK HERE.