Dozens of Pine Valley homes evacuated, residents watch as smoke fills sky
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It was a scary afternoon for many in Wilmington, as they watched smoke fill the sky, not knowing if the fire would engulf their homes. Luckily, only a few houses were damaged and no people were injured.
“I ran in the house, grabbed all the pictures I could, threw it in the truck and left,” said Richard Keegan, who evacuated his home in the Pine Valley area. “It looked like California was burning, how intense the flames were up in the trees.”
“I saw it was really close to my neighborhood and I saw the fire coming off the tops of the trees and that sort of thing,” said Mike Giles, who did not have to evacuate, but stood by to watch crews work to contain the fire. “We stayed there for about two hours making sure the wind wasn’t going to switch directions.”
The Wilmington Fire Department estimates that about 30 homes were evacuated. Around 8:30 Monday evening, people were allowed to return home. Three houses on Charles Paine Drive did see minimal damage.
“I think the fire department did an outstanding job and seemed to have fought the fire from Charles Paine into the woods to protect the homes and I think that’s what saved an awful lot of homes,” Keegan said. “Just an outstanding job. Smart play.”
The Wilmington Fire Department says people will still see smoke for a while and are advised to call 911 if they see flames. The fire department will be out all night with the NC Forestry Service to make sure it stays contained.