Brush fire sparks Tweets among Wilmington residents
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 08:04
A brush fire that started the afternoon of April 16 in a patch of woods between Independence Blvd. and George Anderson Drive Wilmington, N.C. sparked a citywide response online.
(See Storify collection of Tweets about the fire below)
WECT reported the fire was 90 percent contained by the Wilmington Fire Department in a tweet around 6p.m., but most of the sky was still shrouded in smoke. They also reported that three houses were damaged.
The Seahawk reported that ashes were falling on UNCW campus. Many students assumed the city was doing a controlled burn, and logged on to their emails: but it hadn't been announced.
It was at first tweeted by WECT that three to four acres had burned, but the Star News tweeted that 50 acres had been consumed. Residents of Wilmington in the endangered areas began posting photos of the fire immediately from their mobile phones.
Some heard it first in the crackle of the flames near their homes. Others, from a police officer, asking residents to evacuate as quickly as possible for fear the fire would spread. But most saw, smelled and even heard the fire firsthand.
One resident, Ashley Jackson who lives in Stonegate, took a video of the flames on her way home from work and sent it to her father, Gary Jackson. The video showed angry red and orange flames shooting into the sky from behind a cloud of black smoke and debris.
"It was so loud it sounded like a freight train," said Jackson, looking on from the edge of Honeycutt Drive, which the police blocked off once everyone had been evacuated.
Marie Rider, an evacuee on that section of road, stood with her dog Rocko, who she said was scared of the noise. With her was her daughter, Clare, who shot pictures with her phone while overhead, helicopters sprayed water in the woods just ahead.
"When I saw the billowing smoke, and heard the crackling sound, we knew," said Marie Rider.
Patrick Galioto and his wife, Renee, sat in the back of their white pickup truck facing the dying smoke. They'd been there since 5:30p.m. It was already 8p.m. Galioto was still wearing his white work shirt that read in red lettering, "Island Appliance Repair."
"I was on the phone with my son, who was outside. He saw the smoke and said, 'Daddy, I think you need to come home," says Galioto.
Although the fire was widely reported on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, most Wilmington residents only need look at the sky.
No casualties have been reported.