Local News

Fran Debris May Have Sparked Fire, Officials Say

Posted February 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Piles of debris still litter neighborhoods and line streets across North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Fran, and a Wake County family burning hurricane debris may have sparked a fire that left them homeless, authorities and witnesses say.

The fire started Sunday morning in a shed behind a house on Pine Trail near the Wake-Johnston county line.

No one was hurt, but the fire ripped through a home the family had just spent months fixing up after Hurricane Fran.

"They had several trees down on their house from Fran, and certainly their backyard was still littered with debris from Fran, and i think that was a major cause of the fire," said Barry Fussell, a neighbor. "He was burning some of the debris this weekend, I think maybe some of the cinders landed on the roof of the storage room and started the fire."

Fire officials are concerned about the danger from Fran debris and from fires started by homeowners trying to get rid of the debris.

"We're making a lot of efforts to inform people what not to do, how to burn it, when to burn, what days to burn it safely," said Capt. Carl Johnson of the Garner Fire Department. "It's going to be a tough situation all through the spring until (the debris is) gone."

Investigators say the fire in the shed was fuel inside the shed at the back of the house ignited.

Firefighters say that, if you still have debris, the best advice is to take it to a landfill or pay to have it taken to one.

If you do decide to burn it, make sure you pick a spot that's a safe distance from any building, and never leave a fire unattended.

Officials say it's also a good idea to keep a hose nearby.