(Dec. 27, 2014)
By Connie Leinbach
An unoccupied recreational vehicle along Bryant Lane (just off of Lighthouse Rd.) was destroyed in an early morning fire Saturday. No one was injured and the fire was contained within about 10 minutes but took more than an hour to be put completely out, Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department officials said.
About a dozen OVFD members responded around 6:30 a.m. to the fully enflamed camper owned by Marky O’Neal of the New Bern area.
“I had just come back from duck hunting when Jordy Jenkins called me,” said Farris O’Neal, who lives across the street. “I ran right back outside. It was blazing pretty good. Jordy saw the flames from the road.”
O’Neal and his neighbor Adam Burleson, whose house is right beside the camper, along with Kevin Hardy, immediately began to spray water from three garden hoses on the camper, the privacy fence and on the side of Adam’s house.
“If the fire department had gotten there two minutes later, Adam’s house would have caught on fire,” O’Neal said. “It was very hot.”
Fortunately, three OVFD trucks arrived on the scene and got two hoses working.
“We made progress after we got the second hose working off the first truck,” said Ernie Doshier, second assistant fire chief. “It was 10 minutes before I felt good that Adam’s house wasn’t going to catch on fire.”
However, the siding on Burleson’s house got charred, the double-pane window was broken and another window was cracked, Doshier said.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Justice noted that the response and fire-fighting effort went well.
“Nobody got hurt,” he said. “It was very successful. There was a little damage to Adam’s house and it was a very hot fire.”
Both he and Doshier said they do not know how the fire started but that it’s not suspicious.
“The front three quarters are completely destroyed,” Doshier said.
Both O’Neal and Doshier noted that the lack of wind was a factor in quickly subduing the flames and causing further damage.
Doshier noted that this was the first structure fire in two years on the island and stressed the need for young men and women to join the ranks of the fire department.
“With people constantly moving on and off the island, we have a turnover of fire company members,” he said. “We always need people to get certified; operate the trucks; get the gear on. Half of our guys weren’t here today.”
Thirty-six hours of training a year is all it takes for people to learn the basics of fire fighting, he said.
“You’re doing a service for the community,” Doshier said about the need for volunteers. “It will help keep your house or your neighbor’s house from burning. We need more young members.”