Local News

Voluntary Evacuation in Effect for Residents in Johnston Stump Fire Area

Posted February 28, 2007

— Johnston County emergency officials began a voluntary evacuation of homes within three miles of a fire that is pumping smoke and fumes from burning tree stumps.

Three people spent Tuesday night in a shelter set up at Clayton High School's new gym for those wanting to evacuate their homes.

Johnston County communications centers workers said they initiated reverse 911calls about midnight after air monitoring showed heightened levels of carbon monoxide in the air.

The voluntary evacuation was aimed particularly at people with respiratory problems, who might be more affected. Earlier, people with respiratory problems had been told they should limit their outside activities.

Officials advised people who wanted to stay at home to keep windows and doors shut and to turn off their air-conditioning and heating systems to prevent them for drawing outdoor air into houses.

The fire was expected to cause problems periodically for a couple of days, county officials said.

The fire broke out at the stump dump off Loop Road. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources required Stump Dump Inc. to cover its yard waste with dirt, which representatives say is standard practice. Something caused the fire to combust spontaneously, however.

According to officials, the fire started under the dirt before spreading and erupting into a huge cloud of smoke. The fire is expected to burn for several days, causing heavy smoke in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Motorists were urged to be cautious on the roads because heavy smoke is a concern for that area. The state Division of Air Quality is investigating the incident.

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • concertina333 Feb 28, 2007

    If you could smell it you would know that it's not just wood burning. They have controlled burns along property on Loop Rd. every now and then to clear the woods for development which do not produce smoke that smells like what is coming from the Stump Dump. Today it doesn't smell as "toxic" as it did on Monday night and all day and night Tuesday...but it still reeks.

    My family and I are handling it just fine, I just hope the fire is out soon. I'm a mile from it, and I feel bad for all of the families that live closer to it than I do. I also hope this is the end of the Stump Dump.

    No we don't live in a perfect world, but I don't know anyone who enjoys waking up at midnight to a phone call saying that high levels of carbon monoxide are polluting the neighborhood and I might want to evacuate my home. The whole situation is a mess, and may not be a tragedy like the fire in Raleigh...but it still sucks for everyone who lives in this reality right now.

  • packandcanesfan Feb 28, 2007

    wpaylor I did all those things too.. not the lumber part but things are different now. I think the toxins in everyday things are a lot worse. Everything from appliances to the food we eat, is loaded with preservatives and crap we can't even pronounce. Who knows what might be smoldering in that dump and what it could cause.

  • MLWoman Feb 28, 2007

    How did I get as old as I am, my father owned a lumber company, we had a burner for sawdust all my life. I bet there was even carbon monoxide! I even ran with scissors when I was young, and our car didn't have seat belts. I guess I am just a marvel!

  • unchick Feb 28, 2007

    Annie Nicoles mother is being selfish!!! I can't believe how selfish she is that she won't even love her child enough to go along with her final wishes. She needs to be ashamed of herself. I read the story and couldn't post a comment there so I just needed to vent.

  • dell Feb 28, 2007

    Oh me, oh my.......only to live in a perfect world. It will end soon. Handle it.

  • 777 Feb 28, 2007

    "Gotta love Johnston County, such a corrupt area."

    Corrupt? No. I'm laughing hysterically, having recently living in Chicago.

    Backwards and mismanaged? most likely.

  • wstarhawks Feb 28, 2007

    seems like they could have evacuated the people to a hotel instead of a gym. The cost could be transferred to the owner of the dump.

  • 25874245844 Feb 28, 2007

    Awwee, them poor stumps.

  • eli Feb 28, 2007

    The land and owners of the stump dump may have been there before the neighborhood... but the DUMP was created SEVERAL years AFTER the neighborhood was built.

    We were not notified when it went in until after it was up and running. Our neighborhood has been there for over 10 years, and the stump dump has been there much less than that.

    We were SHOCKED when it went up and running. We were told after the fact that the "farmer" wanted to create more useable farm land. We were told that it was to be a "free" tree stump dump site.

    Folks who live in that neighborhood should have had a voice BEFORE it went in. We did not.

    The fact that the dump did not take extra safety percautions to prevent the fire well before it got that big is NUTS. Gotta love Johnston County, such a corrupt area.

  • zodad Feb 28, 2007

    After almost 15 years of paying our dues here in NC it seems we still get blamed for everything that goes wrong.

    I admire you folks that are fortunate enough to find a realtor who is astute or shall I say honest enough to advise clients of what adverse conditions they are surrounded by. Our realtor never told us about the stump dump or the hog waste odors that sweeten the morning air. The locals keep telling us "go back where you came from if ya'll don't like it". Maybe we will do that one day and leave behind a slum and abandoned foreclosed homes for the parasites to exploit.
    NC needs to also stop the burn baby burn policy they have and stop issuing permits to burn everything.

    While we are griping....since Clayton has incorporated most of covered bridge road almost down to the loop road, does that mean they are now going to clean up all the roadside trash or just our wallets?

    One need only to look at what has happened to Wake county to see what is coming this way.