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Fires Hit 2 Wake County Homes

Posted July 28, 2007
Updated July 30, 2007

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— Firefighters battled two blazes at homes around Cary as storms strained emergency personnel throughout the region Friday night.

Fire engulfed a home at 101 Lyncroft Lane in the Landsdowne subdivision in Cary about midnight, authorities said.

A mother and daughter in the house managed to get out safely, said police. Two other family members were not home at the time.

Fire officials said the home suffered damage, but they did not know its full extent.

Lightning sparked another fire in a multimillion-dollar home just outside eastern Cary earlier Friday night.

Personnel and apparatus from the Fairview, Cary, Holly Springs and Swift Creek fire departments responded to the fire, which was called in at about 8 p.m.

Fire crews faced an additional challenge: The subdivision does not have a fire hydrant.

"If there was a fire hydrant in front of the house, it would not have made a difference. Unfortunately, again, the fire had a big head start on us, and we did the best we could," said Mike Gerke, with the Swift Creek Fire Department.

Fire crews transported more than 200,000 gallons of water from about a mile away. The water was dumped into a container that looked like a swimming pool, and then pumped to fight the fire.

Penny Road was closed to allow fire trucks clear access to the house at 3405 Birk Bluff Court.

The subdivision doesn't have fire hydrants because it's outside the town limits and doesn't receive municipal water service.

"(I would) definitely prefer to have fire hydrants, but there isn't much you can do about that. The firefighters do a great job of shuttling the water. I mean, as soon as they set up, it's just like having fire hydrants," said neighbor Tripp Loyd.

No one was home at the time, but the fire destroyed the house, said fire officials.

The 7,785-square-foot house and 1.6 acre lot are listed in Wake County tax records as being assessed at $1.5 million in January 2003.


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  • New York Yankee Jul 30, 2007

    Flipper...I hear that the house was still smoldering today and that there was a sprinkler system in place. How does a sprinkler help the fire from rekindling?

  • RPD07 Jul 30, 2007

    i never did see a pond down there. if we can't see it, we can't use it. keep in mind we arrived at 8pm, after a rain, with our eyes focused on a fire with possible lives inside. we can use ponds/pools/rivers/etc to draft from, but we had a water supply established as soon as the second engine arrived (within 5 minutes of first on scene).

  • koolbike1 Jul 30, 2007

    I posted this question on an earlier version of the story that no longer exists. I know and am familiar with all of the houses on this street. My question to the fire dept is why was the pond located a little over 100' from the house not used for water? Is there some pump design restriction that kept it from being a source of water? I'm not trying to be cynical, but I am curious as I don't have hydrants near my home and would rely on pond pumped water in case of a fire. My highest respect to those who battled the fire, as well as my sympathy for the family who lost their home.

  • Flipper Jul 30, 2007

    Regarding water supply: it is unlikely that hydrants would have saved this house. The rural fire departments in this area are well skilled in water shuttle operations, and we immediately were able to establish a substantial and continuous flow of water to the apparatus fighting fire. This includes a ladder truck that is capable of flowing well over 1500 gallons per minute.

    Well systems are typically unable to deliver the quantity and flow of water required to fight fire, which is why they typically do not feed hydrants (and why we would not utilize them even if they did exist).

    We have received negative criticism for not allowing reporter vehicles on the street which was crowded with charged water supply lines, and from neighbors on subsequent days for creating a "disturbance". All I can say is that there could not have been a better outcome given the circumstances and we literally risked several lives to attempt recovery. Our condolences to the family, but let it go people.

  • Flipper Jul 30, 2007

    I was one of the first responding fire fighters on Birk Bluff Ct. I feel compelled to clear up some of the questions raised in this forum. The fire, likely ignited by a lightning strike, had been burning in the attic space for considerable time prior to our being notified, and that is the primary reason that our aggressive initial interior fire attack was not successful. Within 5 minutes of our arrival the fire had vented from the roof and began consuming the second floor.

    I should point out that two of our fire fighters were nearly killed as a heavy chandelier fell from the ceiling above the front door, largely due to the amount of time the bracings on the fixture were exposed to heat upon our arrival.

    More on water supply in next post.

  • myidea Jul 30, 2007

    For lahnee, many of these multimillion dollar home were built well before the Yankee's set in (look around Norwood and 50 Hwy). It is Wake County that is screwing everyone by not installing anything. Franklin County has a county wide water system with hydrants that serve inside and outside of municipal areas.

  • Bing Used Jul 29, 2007

    I have read that most sprinkler systems are "wet pipe systems", which means that all the pipes included in the fire sprinker system is filled with water that is under pressure and is only released when a predetermined heat temperature is reached. Which means the fire sprinkler system has water ready to go, the system provides the pressure, and while that water in the system is being used, more water (under pressure) fills the pipes back up, which means...continous water supply..WITH pressure!

  • Bing Used Jul 29, 2007

    You know what Speedy?

    you are right, sprinklers probably wouldn't work on a 7000sf home engulfed by flames, but they more than likely could contain the fire and stop it from spreading, and since most sprinker systems have alarms, the FD could have been notified sooner.

    Good Luck to the Families involved. I know what it is like to lose your home.

    And Speedy...Nice Profile!

  • lahnee42 Jul 28, 2007


    I lived there for two years and recently moved back home. Where we live, no house would burn while water is trucked in from someplace else. No subdivsion would ever be approved without BASIC services, such as fire hydrants. Where this house was located is hardly the country and with all the building going on in that area, it makes me shiver to think no municipal water lines are available to these folks....it just doesn't make sense. For the lack of forethought and infrastructure, it was time to head home.

  • John Q Public Jul 28, 2007

    Too bad the $1.5 million house's owner's daughter was in the hospital. I guess its another reason why urban sprawl can lead to some tricky situations.