Local News

Duplin County Wildfire Destroys 2 Homes

Posted September 12, 2007
Updated September 13, 2007

— A brush fire in Duplin County was contained Wednesday, but not before it had scorched about 225 acres and destroyed two homes.

Flames spread quickly Tuesday night through the woods near Magnolia, officials said. Two families had just minutes to grab a few belongings and get out.

"We made it out just in time," said Latarsha Wilson.

What used to be the home of Wilson's parents is now a pile of bricks and ashes. Cars and trucks nearby are charred shells. The brush fire also gutted her grandmother's house next door.

"We still have pictures that we had, but other than that, by the smoke, it's completely gone too," said Wilson.

Other family members from across the state rushed to help.

"Oh God, it's awful. I just couldn't believe it," said Benita Wilson-Harris.

Investigators said they were not sure Wednesday what caused the brush fire. Firefighters planned to watch for hot spots into Thursday morning. The Red Cross is helping the families who lost their homes.

Another potentially damaging brush fire is out in Wake County. Two fire departments battled the flames Tuesday as they spread through a heavily wooded area near Highway 55. No structures were damaged by the fire. The cause has not been determined.

Wildfires are on the rise in North Carolina. For the last 10 years, the state has averaged more than 4,900 fires a year, consuming more than 20,000 acres.

As of Wednesday, the state has seen nearly 5,500 fires this year, burning 30,763 acres. The last time that many acres burned was 1985, when 5,600 fires scorched 113,000 acres.

Fire investigators have determined the cause of more than two-thirds of the summer's wildfires in Robeson County. Of the 150 fires, 21 started from residents burning debris like leaves and trees. Seventeen fires were intentionally set, two by juveniles. Lightning sparked three, including a fire that closed parts of U.S. 74.


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

Oldest First
View all
  • JQ Public Sep 13, 2007

    Alright folks! It ain't gonna get no better until we get a hurricane, so here is what we got to do. Clear the brush piles away from around the house. Make some defensible space. the crazies are looking for a brown spot to light-off. Lets not put our houses in the path. Second, it Neighborhood Watch Time. If someone is driving around and acting strange and not asking for directions. Beware! I have never seen it this brown this soon. My pumkins are not going to make it! Been canning what I can, but it's BAD!

  • skinnycow Sep 13, 2007


    In the area that my family lives there are tobacco farms and corn fields and gardens but everything is dry and brown. It is a depressing sight when I go home to visit.

  • garnertoy Sep 13, 2007

    I also grew up in duplin co and my family is still there and theres nothing green

  • skinnycow Sep 13, 2007

    Good morning Shine. I am deeply saddened by this. This fire happened in my neck of the woods. My family is from Wallace and it is nothing but fields and woods that are totally dry. I have never seen so much brown corn in my life. The fields arent the least bit green. And all of my family has woods surrounding them. My thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

  • shine Sep 13, 2007

    Fires can be started in any number of ways - this just seems to bring the crazies - arson lovers out of the wood work - maybe be will get that promised weekend rain and dampen everything down.