Local News

After Fire, Rolesville Asks: Were Houses Too Close?

Posted August 22, 2007 6:35 p.m. EDT
Updated August 22, 2007 10:07 p.m. EDT

— Tuesday’s major fire in Rolesville could bring big changes to the town.

After flames jumped from house to house, questions arose about whether the houses were too close together. Town leaders said they plan to study the issue.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation Wednesday. Two homes were destroyed. Six others, including two on either side of where the fire started, were seriously damaged.

Firefighters had a difficult time stopping the flames from spreading because the houses were so close together, according to the fire chief.

It was all firefighters could do to keep the fire from jumping from house to house. With just a few feet between each home, they had to use "a wall of water" to keep the flames at bay.

Jill Dixon lives next to one of the destroyed homes. The flames melted her siding.

“Even the tops of these trees were on fire,” she said. “You could see flames shooting up. We just got out of the house. Neighbors were yelling at us to get out of the house.”

As investigators sifted through the remains looking for a cause, fire victims said they wondered whether the small distance between the homes contributed to the magnitude of the disaster.

“I do think they're too close together. Especially after something like this happened,” Dixon said.

Rolesville Fire Chief Rodney Privette said the close proximity of the homes makes it almost impossible to keep a major fire contained.

“Ten feet is not far enough as far as I'm concerned,” he said. “Can't help it from going to the next house. It's going to spread.”

As a result of the fire, the town was creating a committee to look at zoning and whether more fire-resistant building materials need to be used.

“We're very concerned. We feel sorry for the residents, and we want to make sure all of our residents are safe and everything's done that could be possible to help them,” said Mayor Pro-tem Frank Eagles.

The neighborhood is zoned for four houses per acre and allows no less than 10 feet between homes. The committee members looking at this issue said they will include town leaders and home-builders to make sure everyone's perspectives are included.